Don’t be yourself?

As someone working in the hair industry you will be very familiar with working on peoples appearances. They will come to you with things they see about themselves and the way they look that they would like addressed and improved.

Your job is to address the changes to present them with another self (or an improved self).

With your help they hope to feel better about themselves and possibly more confident, leading them to live in a way that perhaps they would not have if they were not their “new” selves.

Did you know that you can apply the same principle to yourself and your staff in order that you perform better in your work place?

The problem

Most of us have things about ourselves that we cannot see. These things are often major contributors to what hinder us in our performance in business and even in our personal interactions.

We are not actually aware of personality traits that are hindering our performance. We have a “blind-spot” about ourselves and as you know when driving your car the blind-spot is the cause of many accidents.

The kinds of things we are talking about could be anything, like the fact that you may be too conservative in your approach to most things in life and this is holding you back from growing your business as you are not aware of this trait and therefore not even thinking of how to boldly take your business forward into the unknown.

It could be that you are over confident and even arrogant and you fly into things too quickly and this gets you into trouble much of the time and you end up taking one (reckless) step forward and two steps backwards as you do damage control and pick up the pieces of the mess that you have created.

With your staff it could be that someone is rude to clients and other staff members and as a result they end up isolating themselves and creating disharmony within the work place and agitating clients.

It could even be someone who speaks before they think and often misinforms clients about policy, services or products. The results of this need very little explaining.

Look in the mirror

Just like your clients would look in the mirror in order to get a reflection of themselves so too we need to look in the mirror in order to get a reflection of ourselves to see what is in our blind spot.

But what kind of a mirror do you look into in order to see reflections of your personality? The answer is not the mirror in your salon but rather the people around you who need to be the mirror for you so that they can reflect to you what you cannot see about yourself.

How do others act as your mirror?

Where there is smoke there is usually fire so getting feedback from multiple people that is consistent usually suggests that what they see about you is fairly accurate and merits looking into.

The personality trait that usually needs addressing is something that you would not normally have seen yourself. It should really come as a surprise to you, else it would not have been in your blind spot.

Why do it this way?

You may ask yourself “Why is it so important that I do it this way rather than me just telling my staff what is wrong with them and getting them to change their habits?”

If you have a group of people reflecting something to you it has a far greater impact than being told by one person. It also bypasses possible personal tensions that may pre-exist the feedback and makes the process more neutral.

A critical point to remember is that the observers reflect what they see (just like a mirror) and not manifest reflections based on their historic feelings about a person as their reflection may become distorted.

The next question is then how do you get people to reflect to you what the personality traits are that may be holding you back?

Play the game

When addressing people’s personality traits in your business you need to keep in mind that you will touch on some very sensitive points and there needs to be safe boundaries established so that they are not overwhelmed to the point of obstinate resistance. They need to know that there is a context to what is being said and done. It is a balance of how to be personal without being personal.

You therefore need to create a game and get all your staff to play the game.

“Playing the game” gives you the freedom to speak honestly and say and do things that you would not normally say and do to people. For example, if you played a board game like chess or risk you would “attack” people in a way that you would not in normal life. In the context of the board game you are literally at war. If you are not ruthless your king will be conquered or your country invaded and you will lose the game.

Where to set the boundaries

In non-contact ball sports there is a saying “play the ball and not the man”, which means that if, for example, in Soccer, you tackle an opponent taking out his legs and not touching the ball then you have committed a foul. You have played the man and not the ball. In most instances the opponent who has been fouled will react quite aggressively and will try to dish out some retaliatory measures of his own to get back at you. He will take his eye off the objective of the game, which is to score goals, and will focus his negative aggression on you. This is counterproductive and the game can become very ugly.

If you keep everything in the context of the game everyone will feel safer and not feel that they are being attacked on a personal level.

Don’t be yourself

The entire process should culminate in you “playing” a persona that is the opposite of your default persona. Therefore, if you are conservative and afraid of moving forward, you should study and imitate characters that are the opposite of this and are daring and adventurous (like Richard Branson or Donald Trump). This should be very liberating as you experience “within the game” what it feels like to express yourself in a way that you are not used to.

If you are reckless in business and always getting yourself into trouble you should observe characters who are cautious and calculating always ensuring they never get themselves into trouble because of reckless abandon.

Ask the question

Once you have seen your reflection in the mirror and rehearsed the role of your new persona the question that you need to ask yourself is “What do I need to do in order to overcome the personality traits that are holding me back in my business”.

The answer to this question will come as you meditate upon it and explore the persona that is foreign to you. It could come in studying more of the methods and thinking of people that are opposite to you but remains dependant on your awareness of your blind spot and being especially aware of exact moments when your less desirable personality traits are keeping you back.

If you are interested in finding out more about staff training in the form of “playing the game” ESP conducts various training in this regard. Please contact Chris on 0861106203.