Womxn and LeadershipJun 23, 2020
Alright spa business owners, let’s just cut right to the chase: how many of you struggle with feeling confident in your leadership? On top of that, how many of you struggle to set professional boundaries (and yes, real boundaries; none of those wishy-washy ones I know we tend to gravitate to)?
I hear you! We “do” leadership differently here in the spa industry, and, as a former spa business owner myself (and now both a spa business coach and the leader of a virtual spa digital marketing team), I have to tell you that just because it doesn’t come naturally doesn’t mean it’s a skill you should give up on. Especially when you run a spa business, the hectic pace of day-to-day life can mean that you are not taking the necessary time to reflect on your leadership style, your emotions, your vision for your business, and the state of your team (if you have one!) in terms of what’s working, what isn’t, and what can be improved.
As women, many of the leadership-oriented resources out there are curated by, written by, and produced for men. The result? Inflexible resources that may not speak to the reality of many spa business owners, especially when it comes to the preferred method of leadership and boundary-setting that I see demonstrated in the majority of my coaching clients: supportive and gentle, yet firm. That’s why, today, I’m thrilled to be listing my top five favourite leadership books that, I feel, tackle spa owners’ unique roadblocks, prompt valuable self-inquiry, and speak to myriad leadership styles rather than the traditional style we see in so many resources on the market.
Without further ado, my first read for you in order to become more confident in your leadership and boundary-setting is…
#1: William Ury’s “The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes”
Almost every single one of both my coaching clients and the members of my spa owners-only Facebook group, Spa Business Mastery, have singled out handling conflict has a pain point of theirs, which is why I cannot recommend William Ury’s “The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes” enough.
What I love about this book is that its teachings are applicable to one’s personal life as well: how to be able to simply and effectively get to a “no” in conflict without compromising either the relationship or your truth.
Straightforward and system-oriented, Ury guides readers through his yes-no structure that will prove that you can say “no” without alienating the person you are in conflict with. Whether it’s a staff member who has booked a vacation without informing you, a loved one who is stepping on your toes, or a vendor who you are clashing with, learning to say “no” gracefully will work to affirm both your boundaries and your leadership in the workplace.
#2: Tara Mohr’s “Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead”
If I could also put this as my #1, I would! Tara Mohr’s “Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead” is juicy, juicy stuff… especially when she details the “inner critic”! Everyone has a cranky inner critic that can become a wall for your self-growth, and Mohr tackles how to close your ears before yours starts hindering your personal and professional growth.
One of the other main topics that Mohr explores, which is my personal favourite? Unhooking from praise and criticism. When I finished that chapter, you couldn’t believe how much my view on situations had been flipped upside-down. I mean, just think about how many situations you have become stuck in because of the inability to unhook from either praise or criticism. For example, a common situation I see is becoming stuck with a client who just doesn’t fit with our ethics, spa business vision, or personal values because they praise us; the situation then becomes unhealthy because you become unconsciously attached to liking that praise.
Service providers, as well, fall prey to this when looking to take services off their menus. “What if I get criticized for removing this? Am I letting people down?” they may ask themselves, despite knowing that it’s the best choice for the business.Unhooking from both criticism and praise means that you will then be able to clearly make decisions that are best for both your health and your spa business’s health.
#3: Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”
Of course, I would be remiss to exclude Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”. Despite having loved it for ages, I still get giddy when thinking about this book: especially now, when many spa business owners are coming out of COVID-19 and are now reopening their physical locations, Brown’s methodology speaks openly and vulnerably of leaders feeling “knocked down” by life and walks leaders through how to not let those tough phases of life define them.
As a social scientist, Brown “pioneers” the idea that vulnerability, as well as “the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome”, is actually the most effective path forward for leaders. After interviewing over 500 successful companies and individuals, she came to the conclusion that the common variable between them was the recognition of “the power of emotion and the ability to lean in to discomfort”... which is perfect for today’s work climate!
#4: Arlene Dickinson’s “Persuasion”
Now, I find it a challenge to find books specifically on women leadership, which is what makes Arlene Dickinson’s “Persuasion” such a gem: while “persuasion” can sometimes be seen as an underhanded word in the context of leadership, what persuasion actually means is simply to convey your thoughts and beliefs in a clear and compelling way.
Dickinson removes the “ick” factor from the term of persuasion and highlights why it is such a valuable skill, especially for women in leadership who, sometimes, may find speaking in public or in high-stress situations challenging.
As for herself, Dickinson learned the value of authentic persuasion when, at thirty-one, she found herself recently divorced and jobless with no savings, no high school diploma, and four young children to feed. Just one year later? She was a partner in Venture Communications, and ten years after that a CEO.
#5: Amanda Steinberg’s “Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms”
Last but not least is Amanda Steinberg’s “Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms”. Money-centric, “Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms” outlines how to bolster confidence in terms of charging your worth, setting the boundaries you know will be lucrative for your business, and improving your overall relationship with money in both your personal and professional lives… which, as women in the personal service industry, spa owners can struggle with!
If you are seeking to stop internalizing your emotions linked to finances and improve your money-making decisions, I highly recommend picking up this guide of how to stop money-related insecurity in its tracks.
Start Strengthening Your Personal and Professional Boundaries Today
Be sure to drop me a line to let me know which of these books end up changing your leadership and boundary-setting styles the most and, as always, please feel free to contact me to join the many spa owners who have upped their spa business game with one-on-one coaching.
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