From Rockstars to Bad Apples… When to Say Goodbye!

“I feel like a prisoner in my Salon”


You know that feeling, when you have a rockstar team, and then suddenly… you don’t.


It only takes one bad apple to poison the whole crop.  


I remember I had a stylist who was amazing at what she did, but every time she’d break up with her boyfriend, her work would plummet… this went on for 2 years!


And you begin to feel like a prisoner, that you can’t move without someone coming to you with a problem or someone is sulking.  


But, you don’t need to be a prisoner anymore, you just need to make the decision to change and do things differently in your Salon.


Here is From Rockstars to Bad Apples… When to Say Goodbye!

What the frick happened?


Having a rockstar team member to all of sudden (almost out of nowhere) a bad apple… you’re left thinking, what the frick happened? 


But, what if I told you there are 3 reasons rockstars turn into bad apples… 


  1. Life happens… 

Her boyfriend is sick of picking her up at 8 pm on a Wednesday, and he wants her to watch him play rugby on Saturday, she was having drinks with her friends on the weekend and they’re all making $35 an hour compared to her $25… without commission.


There are all the life influences that you don’t always think about when you have a bad apple in your team. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you and your Salon.


2. Development Plateau

Your team's motivation will drop when they run out of future, with you and your Salon. Lack of future doesn’t have to relate directly to a promotion… how often do you give your team feedback or help them build their skills? Sometimes all a bad apple wants is, for you to help them develop their skills and become better stylists and therapists. 


3. Changes in the Salon

“I was a junior, now I’m a senior… but wait a minute they’re now a master… what does that even mean” 

Sometimes a ‘rule’ change is enough to leave a team member unsettled. You need to have systems in place for promotions and pay raises so that there is transparency across the whole team.


Show them the Mirror


I know it can be hard to believe when I say that sometimes a bad apple doesn’t realise that they’re ‘bad’ and causing problems in the team… but sometimes they really don’t! 


Sometimes you need to bring awareness to their impact


Have clear guidelines with your whole team. 


What does your team expect from you? 


Bad apples may just need a reminder of the expectations of the team and what that means. 


If the ‘bad’ behaviour continues… coffee time! Invite her to coffee and talk to her about what you’ve observed. Remember you’re talking about her BEHAVIOUR not who she is as a PERSON. 


You need to be clear and specific about her impact and what you would like to see from her… think of a hamburger. The buns are where you say something positive about her or her as a person and then the meat is where you tell her the truth about her behaviour.


The Follow Through


Communication needs to be at an all-time high after your coffee with a bad apple. 


The 3 Times and Your Out is a framework I’ve always liked to follow (let’s step into the 1940s)... 


  1. You need to be MUM

After your coffee, check back in with her within 1 week (the earlier the better). It only needs to be a quick 5-15 minute chat to see how she’s doing and remind her of the impact and how you will support her.


  1. You need to be DAD

It’s time to get a little tougher… goodbye Mum, it’s Dad’s turn. Have another chat with her, where you remind her “We’ve talked about this”. This is her last chance to turn things around.


  1. It’s time to call the POLICE!

Is this goodbye? Seriously. It’s time for a more formal process. You may decide to talk to an employment lawyer to advise on the legal process of saying goodbye to a bad apple.


I know it can feel nerve-wracking saying goodbye to a bad apple, especially if they have been at your Salon for a while… but if it’s reached the stage where you need to call the ‘police’, I promise your Salon will be better off in the long run!


How do you feel? I hope this has put your mind at ease and you feel confident having those conversations with the bad apple in your team to help turn them back into a rockstar! 


Just a quick recap:

  • Bad apples don’t just become bad apples… there’s always a deeper reason
  • Sometimes a bad apple just needs to made aware of the impact of their actions
  • 3 times and it’s time to say goodbye!


Learn more about why your Rockstar turned into a bad apple by listening to our podcast episode.


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If you want to join this community, please reach out, I’d love to chat. Let's find out if Salon Mastery is a good fit for you.

About the author, Larissa

Business Coach & Marketing Strategist: After 20 years of salon business I worked in online marketing & technology development, Business Development Manager at Timely Salon Software and co-founded HAIRshare app for Stylist.

I love helping stylists & salons with marketing strategies, the latest technology and working smarter, not harder in salon business.

Salon Owners Collective is an online community with the mission of inspiring and empowering Salon Owners from around the globe to grow beyond owner operator. Turn your ideas into a reality, build successful businesses and live with clarity and purpose.