“Old ways won’t open new doors”.
It’s one of my favorite quotes when it comes to business because it is so relevant to dance studio owners.
We simply can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
It’s a topic that I talk about a lot with studio owners when it comes to their marketing strategies and plans, but I honestly think that this is most relevant when talking about leadership.
Here’s the thing – most dance studio owners I talk with don’t consider themselves leaders.
They often fall into the trap of seeing themselves as the dance teacher they were 10 years ago, who kind of stumbled into the business of owning a studio because:
a) It was the next natural step, and
b) They quite simply loved it.
But without taking that next step and embracing the leadership role, studio owners also readily fall into habits with their team that are detracting from building a thriving studio with happy students and staff, full classes along with having money in the bank.
There are 3 big leadership challenges that consistently come up for studio owners regardless of whether they have been in business for one year or ten:
1/ I don’t know how to get my team as invested and committed to the studio as I would like.
This may be when they show up 5 minutes before class, they call in sick with hardly any notice or they are always late delivering their music or class plans. Their communication is inconsistent and you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall every week when you need to remind them to mark their class rolls or submit their timesheet. It seems like ‘just a job’ to them.
2/ My teachers aren’t getting the results I expect and I don’t know what to do or say.
Parents may be commenting that the class is too easy, their child is unmotivated or they aren’t being challenged by your teachers. Or perhaps you have walked into their class and wondered why they are sitting on a chair while teaching. They aren’t retaining students or converting trials into enrollments as much as you would like. You know they are a great teacher – it’s why you hired them – but you need them to step up.
3/ I’m too close to my teachers, and it’s impossible to give them feedback without them taking it personally.
They are your Facebook friends and you do love spending time with them, so how can you possibly tell them that their personality is not fitting with your studio’s values and culture? And how can you set boundaries for them on social media when they are adults? You’re probably losing sleep over it and still avoiding the confrontation that needs to happen.
Recently in our downloadable DSOA Ultimate Team Guide, DSOA and Inner Circle Leadership Coach, Jane Grech shared her top 10 tips for Dance Studio Owners who are facing one or all of the above challenges in their business, and they were so rich in value and so actionable that we couldn’t resist sharing!
- Your role as leader is ‘developer of potential’ – “Plant a tree under whose shade you may never sit.”
- Happy team = happy customers and students. Therefore TO YOU, customers don’t come first – your team comes first. Invest time in them. Invest money in them.
- What you allow is what will continue AND you get what you settle for. These principles guide me frequently. When holding people accountable “Make it about the process, not the person.”
- Culture cannot be underestimated. Create a CULTURE BY DESIGN and hold everyone to the values.
- Do not be mysterious. There should be no grey areas as what is expected of people. Be upfront with what you expect and have this in writing
- There is no one size fits method. Just as students respond differently, so will your team. Get to know their personalities and how they work
- You can NEVER have too much Acknowledgement, Recognition or Encouragement. NEVER.
- Genuinely care. Remember that every person you work with is ‘somebody’s somebody’ – someones wife, daughter, sister, friend. Treat people with respect and care about their well being.
- Remove your ego. Everyone has something of value to add to a team.
- Communicate OFTEN – schedule time for this or it won’t happen.
To check out our downloadable Ultimate Team Guide in full as well as resources and support to build the dance studio of your dreams, we’d love you to join us in the Dance Studio Owners Association!