VENTEUR spoke with Mila Alishaev, Owner and Founder of Manhattan Laser Spa, about team leadership. Manhattan Laser Spa boasts years of experience serving New York City in Manhattan, the Upper East Side, and Brooklyn and recently expanded to Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. After coming to the United States from Israel in 2000, she graduated with a Bachelor's in business administration. Alishaev and her mom became interested in the beauty industry and built up Manhattan Laser Spa in 2005 into what it is today as two female entrepreneurs. It started with only laser services, and now they have grown the brand exponentially into a medical spa that offers a variety of services to clients, including CoolSculpting, IV therapy, injectables, and much more.
What are three non-negotiable things a team leader must do for their team, and why?
As a team leader in a customer service business, my first and foremost priority is that clients receive the utmost professional service that we advertise daily. We always want to ensure top-notch customer service. For customers to obtain excellent service, I must ensure that I lead my team in the right direction.
Three non-negotiable things one should do as a team leader are:
- Ensuring every team member is adequately trained throughout their tenure with the business. This includes continuous on-site and off-site training.
- Giving team members the tools necessary to fulfill their career objectives. Encourage employees to advance within ranks and acquire additional training/education to reach their career goals.
- Resolve conflict between team members and the associated areas of the job site they represent. I am a firm believer that a healthy work environment is a productive work environment.
How important is it for a team leader to provide feedback, how detailed and frequently should feedback be delivered, and why?
A leader must be involved and deliver feedback to employees.
I always stand by the idea of enabling our staff to follow their instincts and make their own decisions in challenging situations. That being said, every circumstance of a certain magnitude is always subject to debriefing and brainstorming.
When they make their own decisions, it becomes a teachable moment for the parties immediately involved and a general educational matter for the rest of the team.
How do you determine what things to delegate and the team members to trust, and how has this changed over time?
I handpick every team member before they start their job to balance the existing skillset of the staff with its future potential.
Therefore, I delegate based on the needs of the business. As far as delegations are concerned, they are commensurable with the desire of each staff member to act independently and accept responsibility.
This isn't something that can be forced on a person.
The desire to take on additional tasks has to come from within.
How important is it for a team leader to communicate with their team, and how detailed should such communications be?
Communication is an essential part of the job of a team leader.
It creates a unity of mind and protects the team as a whole.
This prevents the company from becoming a rigid and complicated environment versus an ever-evolving organism.
Our client base is ever-evolving, and we must evolve with them. To do this, clear communication is necessary among a team to make our clients happy.
What are three communications mistakes you've made with teams in your charge, and how could those mistakes have been avoided?
1. Not Listening Thoroughly on Several Occasions
There have been instances where a team member may not be right and taking the time to understand where they are coming from is necessary.
2. Not Being Patient
We've all had times when we lost our patience. It happens to the best of us. I felt like the times that I became impatient changed our workflow for the worse.
3. Demanding Perfection Where Development Should’ve Been Applied
As a leader, you want your employees to perform their best and almost be "perfect." When I expected perfection, I felt that situations turned for the worse when it could have been a learning experience to help employees develop in their roles.
How have you used conflict resolution as a team leader, and what conflict resolution principles should team leaders know about, and why?
Conflicts are necessary for human interaction, so I do not view them as something unexpected in the workplace. I believe in resolving disputes before they materialize.
As long as you keep a hand on the pulse of the organization as a team leader when conflicts do occur, follow these principles:
- Ensure adequate service has been provided .
- Workflow resumes as required.
- Debrief the parties involved and allow them to dictate the solution.
- Justify why and how this could have served the team goals better.
Over time, this becomes second nature a leader. Usually, this works better than using the power of authority to dictate terms. Although the power of authority must be involved now and then, I prefer to use it as a last resort.
How do you approach building relationships within your team, where is the line drawn that shouldn't be crossed, and why?
Lines that cannot be crossed are mainly professional. They involve the level of service we administer to our clients.
These lines are set in stone.
They are there to protect our workspace.
Regarding interpersonal relationships within the team, I am taking a tough stance on disrespectful conduct among team members and negativity of any sort, as I believe it is the worst poison that can destroy any workplace from within.
What are three unique team leadership mistakes you see entrepreneurs make, and how can these mistakes be avoided?
- Setting unreasonable expectations for business objectives and growth only sets a business up for failure. It's important to make expectations realistic for your business.
- Having unreasonable demands from the employees and developing an employee into a team member is a process requiring time, patience, and in a way, vision. These qualities take time to grow in a business leader (speaking from experience).
- Not knowing your clients, your corner of the market, and the people you work with. Take your time to get to know all these things. It will be beneficial in the long run.
How do you handle resistance from your team, and why?
I usually handle resistance from the team with a lot of patience! We can't expect everyone to be perfect, and it's essential to be an efficient team leader who understands resistance from a team member and resolves it correctly.