Positive Leadership

Eliminate Negativity in The Spa

Spas are designed to be a place of rest and relaxation for their guests. However, keeping personal and workplace drama out of the spa can be difficult, especially when going through periods of transition, such as hiring new staff, introducing new protocols, or training employees on a new product line. As a spa leader, it is your responsibility to run a business that impacts both customers and employees positively. Here are some tips to eliminate negativity in the workplace and lead by example.

Oftentimes, we mislead ourselves in believing that people cannot sense our energy. When you are stressed, tired, anxious, or frustrated, your employees can sense those negative emotions and internalize them, resulting in clients receiving sub par experiences.

Here are four strategies to eliminate negativity in the workplace for maximum employee and client happiness:

Keeping personal and workplace drama out of the spa can be difficult.


Clear communication does not have to be negative. Train yourself to limit talking about what you don’t want, and focus on explaining in detail the behavior that you do want from your employees. For example, instead of telling a service provider that you don’t want to keep reminding them to refresh the schedule every so often to catch new appointments in the system, explain that you do want them to check every so often so they can maximize their time. You are saying the same thing but with a positive connotation. Then follow up with feedback to make sure your requests are fulfilled and acknowledged. You may need to self-correct and catch yourself starting your sentences with “I don’t want,” and then course-correcting by adding, “What I do want …” In no time, your speaking will resonate with more positive direction and less criticism.


With any kind of change, there will be unexpected obstacles; however focusing on the problem or obstacle creates unnecessary stress. When you focus on what’s not working instead of what you want to create, you contribute to the negativity.

As the leader, your job is to keep everyone focused on your mission and vision. This does not mean that you ignore problems. It simply means that you don’t put the majority of your energy into them. When employees complain or become negative, listen compassionately first, and then ask them, “What do you want?” Or, “What are we committed to creating?” These two questions—when asked with the right energetic intention— shift the conversation onto what’s possible rather than what’s not working. Keep them motivated by keeping the vision in sight.

Provide stability

As humans, we crave stability. It’s in our nature to function best under a routine with some amount of predictability. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to work to provide a sense of certainty and stability, especially if you are making significant changes such as adding or firing employees, brining in a new product line, or switching up the schedule or menu of services.

There are several effective and concrete ways to create stability and routine in the workplace. Holding weekly staff meetings is a good way to assure employees they have a time and place to address their concerns every week, so things don’t come up in the middle of the workday when clients are around. Sticking to written policies such as uniform, scheduling and sick days will ensure employees know what to expect when they ask for a schedule change or a day off. This also maintains fairness and eliminates any perceived bias towards employees with a higher status or tenure. The policies are there to help you maintain boundaries and protect yourself legally. Be sure to keep your word and don’t make promises that are unfair or that you can’t keep. This creates a sense of doubt and mistrust amongst employees, and will surely result in gossip and unnecessary workplace drama.

As a spa manager, you must become acutely aware of the impact of negativity. After all, your clients come to you for rejuvenation, relaxation and increased well-being. A negative internal climate will ruin your reputation. Negativity spreads like a virus, whether it’s complaining or gossiping about a coworker.


Teach empowerment and personal responsibility. Create a protocol for addressing employee complaints. Employees should set an appointment, and explain how their complaint is attached to customer service, teamwork or the bottom line. In addition, the employee should come prepared to offer creative ideas and potential solutions rather than asking you to play referee. In other words, workplace complaints need to have a business case and an idea for improvement.

When employees are dealing with personal issues, teach them to own the emotion rather than engage in story-telling. It is normal to express feelings of anger, for example. However, going into detail about what one employee said to another creates drama and is a negative form of expressing feelings. Teaching your employees how to be proactive, ask for what they want and manage their own emotions are key parts of growing a mature and successful team. Empowerment and personal responsibility are what transform an employee into a valued member of a well-functioning team. When each person becomes responsible for the energy they bring to the workplace, you create an unstoppable team and an unforgettable experience for your clients.