Seeking guidance when instructions are unclear
If you have been asked to perform a specific task but are unsure what you have to do, it is important to find out more information from the relevant person to make the instructions clearer. You should, in the first instance, ask the person who gave you the task to do to clarify the instructions so that you fully understand what is expected of you. Only when you have a clear understanding of the task can you carry this out to the highest standard. Do not be afraid to ask - your colleagues would rather you ask than make a mistake!
Seeking feedback on your performance
To help develop your skills, you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Nobody expects you to become an instant expert - you will gain more knowledge and experience over time in the salon. However, you should make sure that all the skills and knowledge you have are up to date. Regular training, reading trade journals and attending trade shows and exhibitions will help you to do this. Be enthusiastic to learn new skills and regard it as a challenge rather then a chore.
A self-appraisal form enables you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and from this you may set short-term and long-term personal targets. A joint review of your performance with your manager, assessor or tutor, should then identify whether your personal targets are realistic and achievable using the SMART formula (see below).
Short-term goals are easier to measure and judge than long-term goals. Achieving these will encourage you to improve further. A short-term goal for the stylist Masako, for example, is to complete a fashion colouring course and gain her certificate. This is rewarding and achievable. A series of short-term goals can also help you achieve a long-term goal.
Long-term goals are not so easy to measure and may be harder to keep in view. They require much more dedication to achieve. A long-term goal for Masako may be to gain two more years salon experience then apply for a job as a stylist on an ocean liner.
Case study: Masako’s performance appraisal
Using the SMART theory for Masako’s performance appraisal will help her and her manager/assessor decide how best to help Masako achieve her targets. The main problem seems to be her late arrival in the salon on some mornings and it is good that Masako has identified this as a weakness - especially if she is relying on the goodwill of her colleagues to prepare her clients for her when she is late.
Specific - Is her target specific? Yes, but she needs to identify how she intends to tackle her poor time keeping.
Measurable - She must aim to improve her time keeping by 100 per cent, that is, she must not be late at all (only in exceptional circumstances)!
Achievable - Do not aim for something that cannot be realised. Masako should be able to improve her time keeping. She could also have a short-term target to double her retail sales for the next month.
Realistic - Is Masako’s aim to improve her time keeping realistic? Masako lives some distance from the salon in a rural area where there is only limited public transport. She does not own a car. The bus service runs every hour on the hour, so if Masako misses the 8am bus she cannot get to the salon in time. Masako needs to make more of an effort to catch the 8am bus. If she is prepared to do this then her aim is realistic.
Timed - Masako should aim to improve her time keeping over the next month when her self-assessment and review will be ready to be done again. This will help her to gauge how well she is doing.
Now Masako has analysed the problem, she needs to find ways to help her achieve her aim. These could involve any of the following:
-set her alarm clock to go off half an hour earlier on working days
- ask if another member of staff (or friend or neighbour working nearby) could offer her a car share, perhaps splitting the petrol costs
- learn to drive so she is no longer reliant on public transport
- change the appointment booking-in system at the salon, so that she starts at 9.30am when she can realistically get to work and then either finish half an hour later or have only a short break for lunch
- cycle to work and get fit at the same time!
SELF APPRAISAL FORM
The purpose of this Self-Appraisal Form is to help you reflect on your job performance and prepare for a performance appraisal interview. Use this form as a basis for key points you may wish to raise with your manager during the interview.
Remember, the three main objectives of an appraisal interview are to:
1. Assess past achievements/failures
2. Consider the need for further training/development
3. Specify way in which future performance can be improved
1. What parts of your job do you consider you have performed well?
I am confident with most treatments, however, I still find colouring hard and sometimes need help with layered cuts
2. What parts of your job do you feel you could have performed better?
I don't feel I'm very good at reception duties as I'm not very confident when making appointments.
3. Comment on your overall level of job satisfaction.
I really enjoy my job and like assisting the other members of the team. Thursday is the best day as this is my 'training evening’.
4. Indicate aspects of your work you particularly like/dislike.
I really like putting long hair up. I dislike setting as I find it difficult to fit the rollers in.
5. What factors, if any, have made your work difficult to perform?
My confidence level. I need more practice with cutting and colouring. Perhaps a cutting/colouring course would help. More guidance needed on reception duties.
Asking colleagues for help
Some people find it hard to ask others for help, however, in hairdressing you must be able to ask your colleagues for help for many different reasons. When you are trainingit is really important to be able to ask your colleagues to help you learn if you are finding certain tasks difficult. Remember - even the most famous hairdressers were trainees once and had to learn what you are learning. Some of you will find some parts of your hairdressing qualification harder than others, but practice makes perfect, and if at first you do not succeed, try and try again (and if you still find it hard - ask for help!).
Making and taking opportunities to learn
You may need to seek help from the relevant person in your salon if you are unable to obtain learning opportunities relating to your work. This will probably be your salon owner or manager as only he or she will be able to help give you the opportunity to learn if there is any cost involved. You may, however, be able to shadow another more experienced member of the team, which should provide you with a learning opportunity. Observing a talented stylist can help you to learn techniques and different methods of working. You must take every opportunity to learn, as it is very easy to sit back and think you know enough, but in our ever-changing industry there is always something new to learn!
Check it out
- Look at the self-assessment appraisal form that you completed earlier.
- How would you tackle your weaknesses?
- What short-term and long-term targets could you set to develop your strengths?
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