8 things you can do to be a better spa manager

Be a better spa manager

Being a spa manager can be difficult. You’re responsible for a team and for the success of the business. Poor management can result in a toxic work environment, staff attrition, and low morale — all of which have an immediate impact on customer experience, which ultimately makes or breaks your spa business success. And that can feel like an overwhelming responsibility.

If you’re in a management position, however, that means someone has confidence that you can do it. How well you do is up to you.

Use these eight tips to improve your spa management skills.


You think you listen. But do you really? Haven’t we all had a manager in the past who clearly never hears a word we say? When someone on your team is speaking to you, listen with your ears, your mind, and your whole self. Avoid thinking about how you’re going to respond – or about your tasks for the day – while the other person is talking. The ability to listen is what makes the difference between bad leaders and great leaders.

Be supportive

We’ve talked before about how crucial it is to support spa staff, as they are often in more vulnerable positons – both physically and emotionally – than workers in other industries. Many of them are often alone and in physical contact with often half dressed strangers in small spaces for extended periods of time. They listen to all kinds of problems, deal with people’s personal and wellness issues, and often hear complaints or deal with difficult people. And good ones do it with a smile, a sympathetic ear, and a high degree of professionalism. Spa staff jobs can be physically taxing and tiring – and repetitive. What they need in order to keep doing their best is a manager who has their backs, and listens to and supports them. Without that it can become difficult to bother day after day.

Lead by example

If you want a staff that takes guest experience and personal interaction seriously, you must demonstrate that you take these things seriously. Do this by treating everyone with equal respect, and in doing your own job conscientiously and thoroughly. Take responsibility for your failures as well as your successes, and inspire your team to go above and beyond the call of duty by doing so.

Make sure everyone is aiming for the same goals

Set goals and communicate these to your team, whether it be increased occupancy, better customer retention, or improving retail sales. And outline the tactics for achieving them. When employees feel that they are instrumental to the success of an organization, they are more inclined to put the effort towards achieving that success. They’re also less inclined to go looking for another job when they feel invested in the success of their current company.

Be open to feedback and suggestions

You are not infallible and you might sometimes be wrong, or have ideas that could use improvement. Empower your team to voice their concerns and opinions, even if it means putting your ego on hold. What would you rather have? Team members that do what you tell them to do and stay silent, even if they have an idea that will work better? Or team members that share those ideas with you?

Involve your employees in the decision making process

Your team’s input can be immensely valuable when it comes to making business decisions around treatment menus, products, programs, services, and more. Who knows your client base better than your service providers and support staff? Also, involving people in the decision-making process sends the message that their opinion is valued – and that goes a long way towards motivating people to do their best.

Hold people accountable

Any employee worth having around wants to be held accountable. This means communicating that they are expected to live up to expectations, and even exceed them. Many managers might pick up the slack for a careless employee because it’s easier than speaking to that person or for fear of confrontation. But in the end this doesn’t solve anything and it sends the message that it’s OK to do a less than optimal job because someone else will pick up your slack. And that is not the way to run a successful business.

Be generous with praise

When people are busy they often only think to communicate when something goes wrong, rather than when something goes well. What that does it make people not want to speak to you, and panic when they see you coming. Give positive feedback as much as possible. If a customer praises a service provider, or someone does a particularly good job on something, be sure to let that employee know.

Learning to be a good manager is an ongoing process. But it’s all about respect and treating people as though they are valuable.

As Forbes Senior VP of Ratings recently told us, “When one feels respected, and that their ideas are valuable and their contribution is meaningful, that reflects in their attitude. When they see the return on the investment they make as an individual through a positive working environment, that all benefits the guest.”

Now read:

Five cardinal qualities of successful spa directors

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