Over the years, I've discovered that the best haircuts aren't a matter of what I think when I stand up from the stylist's chair, but the feedback I get from friends (and even strangers) after I walk out of the salon. Comments like "Great haircut!" and "Love the look!" signify that that the hairstylist knocked it out of the park. Whereas questions like, "Was that the look you were going for?" and "Wow - did you want it that blonde?" leave me wondering what just happened. I want to have the wow factor when it comes to my hair - just not that kind of wow factor.
So what's this got to do with leadership? Bear with me, because just as I've been discovering secrets to increasing a healthy wow factor in my hairstyle, I've realized their application to leadership. Consider these wow factor hair tips:
1. Select a stylist who has a similar to the look to the hairstyle you desire. If want a trendy, hip cut stay away from stylists whose own hair sports feathered wings and shouts "I Love the 80s".
2. Play to your hair stylist's strengths. For some stylists, color is their gifting. For others, they're strength is the cut, one that flatters your features, your face and your style. For others, their strength is that they will do exactly what you ask - no more, no less - so you know what you're getting. Find out what they love about styling the most. Then trust your stylist with their insights and suggestions.
3. Always show your stylist a photo of the hair cut, color, and style you want. A few years ago, I learned the hard way that not all inches are equal length. I had a longer style at the time and asked for a one-inch trim. She took off nearly four! Now whenever I sit in a stylist's chair, I'll ask "What does an inch mean to you?" I'm always amazed at the different interpretations! To solve this miscommunication, I've learned to always show the stylist photos of the hairstyle I'd like clipped from a stylish magazine.
4. Do your research. Everyone gets a haircut - even if it's from their mom. So you may have a lot of different advice when it comes to recommendations. How do you discern? Listen to the friends who have the haircut or style you desire or pay attention to local magazines or newspapers that offer "Best Of" lists.
Are you following me? Hairstyles and leadership? There may be more parallels than you realize! Just as you want to select a stylist with a similar look as you desire, it's important to surround yourself with people who share a similar vision and passion in ministry.
You need people around you who care about the same things you do and share the same values. When you find these people, don't let them go. Even if they move onto to a different job or vocation, make every effort to stay in touch and continue building the relationship. You never know when you'll be able to offer that valuable piece of wisdom or encourage that makes all the difference. And you never know when you're going to be the one who needs it!
Just as you play to your hairstylist's strengths, you need to look for opportunities to play to the strengths of those you work with. When you tap into someone's passions, you discover a deep well of energy and strength. The ministry and its impact will go further than it otherwise possible.
Showing a hairstylist a photo of the cut you want is a great communication technique. And it's no secret that leadership requires effective communication. Just like words such as "layered" have different meanings among stylist, phrases like "as soon as possible" and "long term" and "efficiency" can easily be misinterpreted. That's why it's important to try new communication styles - including showing not just telling - to lead effectively.
Jesus was a master communicator and used all kinds of everyday experiences including weather, harvesting, and paying taxes as opportunities to teach rich lessons. What everyday experiences can you use to effectively communicate with those you work with?
Finally, whether it's a hairstyle or a developing a long-range plan, doing your research will go a long way to ensuring your success. Before Jesus selected the 12 disciples, he spent an entire night "doing research" through prayer. Whenever you're facing a major decision or considering change, take time away to pray. And don't forget to ask for the wisdom of others who can empower you to make the best possible decisions.
Following these principles, you'll not only add the wow factor into your hairstyle, but your leadership style as well.