At some point in your career, as a dance studio owner, you may need to hire a manager to help run the day to day operations. As an owner you wear so many hats, and handing off some of your tasks, may help your studio grow. It could also give you back some of your sanity that you may have lost building it from the ground up. But, what are the qualities of a good manager?

Here are seven qualities you should be looking for when hiring:

  • The perfect candidate needs good organizational skills
  • They’ll also require a lot of patience  
  • A good manager holds themselves accountable and knows how to keep themselves motivated to get the work done
  • They will have good communication skills
  • The right person will be respectful of you as the dance studio owner and give that same respect to clients, vendors, and other employees as well
  • A good dance studio manager has industry knowledge and qualified experience
  • They are able to adapt to working with dance studio management software

Now that you know the top seven qualities of a good manager, let's break them down further so that you’ll be better equipped as to what to include in your dance studio manager job description. Armed with the perfect job description, you can be sure you're hiring the ideal candidate for your dance studio.

The Truth Behind The Qualities Of A Good Manager

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A good dance studio manager has exceptional organizational skills.

From enrollment forms to progress reports, liability waivers to invoices - there's a lot of paperwork involved in running a dance studio. Granted, many dance studios of today are paperless or close to it, but that doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of documents a dance studio manager will need to keep track of.

It's imperative that whoever is in charge of that paperwork knows where it is at all times. An example of how a loss of paperwork could negatively impact your dance studio is if a fire marshall were to come in for a spot inspection. You might need to provide licenses and permits or other paperwork to them. Without those, your studio could face a fine or trigger a closer inspection. Nobody has time for that!

Paperwork isn’t the only thing that a studio must keep organized of course. Inventory, class schedules, and email correspondence are also elements that must be orderly.

When stuff is disorganized and chaotic, the following things could happen:

  • You might mistakenly order additional supplies or equipment because you didn’t know where things were
  • Bills could go unpaid, resulting in unnecessary late fees
  • Teachers or students might show up on the wrong days and times
  • Event tickets could be under or oversold
  • Emails could go left unresolved (more on communications below)

We could go on, but you probably get the idea. Keeping everything organized, can be instrumental in preventing a number of bad things from happening.

Even under extreme pressure, they're always calm and composed.

It is easy for some people to make simple mistakes when they are stressed. Sure, some of these mistakes may not be costly, but others could greatly affect the business and how it runs. Bad managers may crack under pressure, and as a result, be unable to keep up with the simplest of tasks.

Some bad managers may even try to offload their work to other people who might not know the right systems and processes for getting stuff done. In the most extreme cases, if they can’t handle the pressure, they could just quit. An abrupt departure leaves you scrambling to replace them and/or the need to complete their tasks until you find an adequate replacement.

A good dance studio manager is patient, and still thrives and performs well when the environment gets intense. Let’s face it. Things will get stressful when you’re running a dance studio - especially during busy times like recruitment and recital seasons. It’s critical to have a manager that can make important decisions that are supported by facts, and not emotions during such times.

You need someone who is a self-starter and will hold themselves accountable. After all, you don't have time to hand-hold.

Running a business could be compared to being at war. Okay, that might be a little bit extreme, but when you feel like you’re in the trenches, you need someone who can stay alert and active at all times.

As the studio owner, you’ve got other things to worry about. You can’t waste precious minutes telling your dance studio manager what needs to be done every day. And, you can’t afford to have them sitting around waiting to be given another task, that becomes a waste of your time and hard earned money.

In other words, you need someone who doesn’t wait to be told what to do. They know what is expected of them, and they just get it done. Sure, you’ll need to train them in the practices and day to day operations of your studio, but then they handle their own follow through after that.

An added benefit of managers that are self-motivated easily? They often motivate other employees into putting more effort when they are working. Productivity (and sadly lack thereof) is contagious.

Your dance studio needs someone with great communication skills.

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Whether they are talking to other employees or potential clients, a dance studio manager should always communicate clearly. Whether written or spoken, good communication goes a long way in ensuring that the intended information is passed along. Poor communication could lead to a whole mess of problems like missed marketing opportunities, a decrease in class sign-ups, students not having the right gear for class, and so much more.

Communication is another reason why you need a manager that is patient. Sometimes clients will get upset, and when they are heated, you’ll want someone who can maintain their composure and discuss issues clearly and effectively.

Not only should a manager be effective at communication, but they also need to master their communication channels as well. For example, if they will be sending emails on your behalf, they need to know how you would want them to handle the correspondence. You could create a protocol for certain types of emails to better prepare them for these situations.

An idea could be to have templated responses for things like:

  • Class cost and scheduling inquiries
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Event management issues and more

Remember, the more systems and processes you can have in place, the easier it will be to hand off tasks to your dance studio manager.

No matter what, respect for everyone is always expected

They say great leaders earn respect instead of demanding respect. Unfortunately, too many people confuse fear with respect. When people fear a manager it makes them unapproachable making the work environment difficult to be in.

To that end, how your dance studio manager handles engaging with employees, vendors, clients, etc., can have a massive impact on whether or not they are respected. As such, your manager must be kind, listen well, be willing to learn and adapt, and be available. When you act respectfully, you get respect in return.   

Good dance studio managers also appreciate their employees and understand that they are part of a team. They give credit where it’s due, and help boost company morale at every opportunity. When everyone is happy and feels appreciated, work simply feels easier and more joyful.

You don't want a newbie as your dance studio manager.

Not only should the person you choose have experience being a manager, but they must also have industry knowledge of what it takes to run a dance studio. It's simply not enough that they have management skills. Managing a corporate office or even a pastry shop both call for entirely different skill sets. Dance studio management is a whole different beast.

The person you choose as your dance studio manager should have been an apprentice at a dance studio or even managed one at some point. The more experience they have in the field of dance, the better. You need to know they can help you with recitals, ticket sales, client recruitment, customer engagement and a plethora of tasks unique to dance studios.

In fact, the ideal client should be able to practically open a studio themselves if they wanted to. Don’t let that threaten you if they aspire to do that, however. Besides, even if they do plan to open their own studio that’s not to say they would take away anything from your business. And, if you hire them from a place of fear, it won’t end well. Instead, see yourself as a step on their journey wherever it may lead, and keep your relationship as cohesive as possible.

A good dance studio manager will also be willing to learn more. Even if you didn’t hire a newbie, ongoing education is critical to keep up with current trends in the dance industry. The more they can learn the better, as their newfound knowledge could help your studio develop more productive strategies for growth and improving your studio’s bottom line.

Finally, a good dance studio manager needs to be well versed in dance studio management software.

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If you have decided to hire a dance studio manager, you obviously are looking to loosen the grip on the reigns of your company. By hiring help, you are buying back some time so that you can do more of what made you open your studio in the first place.

That’s why you need dance studio management software, and you need a manager who is well versed in how to use it as well. Using software is like having a virtual employee working on your behalf 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long.

With dance studio management software, many of the monotonous tasks are already made easier such as:

  • Inventory management
  • Class scheduling, enrollment and invoicing
  • Email, snail mail, text correspondence
  • and more

Hiring someone to be your manager who knows how the software works, or at least can adapt quickly to using it, gets you that much closer to scaling your business, and perhaps taking more time off from work. If we’re being blunt here, having the right software on your side could help you keep the dance studio manager position as a part-time job too, which could save you even more money.

Bottom line, the best dance studios have a good manager, and a good dance studio manager has the tools needed to run it efficiently. Being a leader of any organization can be hard, but trying to run a dance studio without the right tools in place is even harder.

Dance Studio Ownership 101

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