There are endless technical, black and white, straight to the point aspects of running a successful store, but each person will have a different management style and these are the parts that can be more open to interpretation.
Though each store manager will be a little different in how they run their store, great store managers all have one thing in common and that is that they are excellent with people. This skill allows store managers to efficiently lead, motivate, and train the staff.
Ask yourself the following questions to judge how you stack up as a store manager:
1. Do I challenge my staff to meet SMART goals?
Performance goals can be based on a variety of different variables such as productivity in the workplace, sales per shift, and general efficiency. Despite which area(s) your staff needs to work on, you have to be able to inspire your staff to do better each day. Each of your associates should consistently have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals they’re working towards and be given feedback on their progress.
Always ask your staff what they need from you in order to complete their SMART goals.
2. Do I coach my staff when they fall into a rut?
Some of your hardest workers will occasionally fall into a rut, but a great store manager knows the only way out of this is through effective coaching. Effective coaching helps to identify creative solutions to performance problems which will in turn improve efficiency at work. Effective coaching stresses collaboration to overcome problems rather than confrontation and stressful write-ups.
Keep your focus on finding solutions to problems and helping your employee(s) overcome these problems by giving them the necessary tools for success.
3. Do I encourage my staff to share ideas for the store?
If you want your staff to feel invested in your store’s success you should ask them to contribute ideas that improve systems and efficiency. A staff that feels encouraged to speak up will feel invested in the store. The best store managers ensure all associates are included when making decisions for the store and also take their ideas to heart. Don’t be the store’s problem solver; encourage team effort to build that unbreakable bond between manager and staff.
Ask questions like, “Here is our problem… Now how do we solve it?” Don’t dismiss ideas that have been brought up before. Instead find ways to tweak ideas so that they work with the situation.
4. Do I take a personal interest in my staff?
Your staff is what will make or break you as a manager and with that will reflect the store’s profitability and overall atmosphere. Your staff isn’t just who opens and closes the store. They have lives outside of work, and it’s really important that you recognize this and help them to balance the two. Staff motivation will greatly increase when they feel the store manager is understanding and accommodating.
Small things like learning their kids names, celebrating birthdays, greeting in the morning, and just general getting to know your staff’s interests encourages your staff to stay loyal to the store and commit to goals.
5. Do I delegate duties well?
The best store managers know how to delegate duties rather than just micromanage every aspect of the store. Don’t get stressed out as a store manager because you are trying to do every little thing. If you micromanage your employees the result will be a staff that is demoralized and disconnected with the store.
Delegating can be a hard thing to do, especially if you are a perfectionist, but it is crucial to the overall health of your staff. To help ease the stress of becoming a macromanager start by visualizing the results and skill steps necessary to achieve the goals. Once you’ve done that, rate your staff based on their ability to get that task done. If you have associates on staff that you don’t trust with a task then offer extra training in the necessary areas to get them where they need to be for that duty.
If the associate(s) still aren’t able to complete tasks despite the extra training then consider replacing them with someone more trainable.
6. Do I communicate my priorities and directions clearly?
You know what you want from your staff, but do they?
There may be times when you feel you have voiced a concern or policy, but there is still confusion coming from your staff. Your staff won’t perform well if they don’t know what you want from them, and most of the time your staff isn’t aware of what’s most important to the store manager. This is particularly true if there is a transition in management. The staff will usually assume the new manager expects the same things as the old store manager, but this isn’t usually the case. A lot of times there are policies or systems that have slacked off after a store manager has been in the store a while, and when the new manager comes in the staff may have to be completely retrained in certain areas to get back on track with store policies.
A great way to keep your staff up-to-date is to have a designated spot in your backroom for communicative postings. Here you can post any sales, promotions, announcements, shout-outs, policy changes, inspirational quotes/styling, etc. You will get a monthly newsletter from Home Office talking about any events coming up for the month, highlighting the employees of the month, and other miscellaneous points. It is a good idea to do some type of systematic newsletter every week to keep your staff updated on the happenings within your store. Written communication is excellent for ensuring your staff knows what to expect for the week.
When you have an employee that didn’t meet your expectations as store manager, focus more on what needs to be done differently as opposed to what went wrong. It’s more important for the employee to understand how to react should the situation happen again rather than just stating what the associate did wrong.
Being a great store manager circles back around to excellent communication. What exactly is important to you as a store manager? Make sure your staff knows that.
7. Do I productively resolve conflicts?
The best store managers know how to resolves conflicts and turn them into positive experiences. Conflicts in the workplace can be very beneficial for finding new solutions to old problems. It’s important to counsel each person involved in the conflict separately so that you can get a clear understanding of what’s happened. Ensure you emphasize the consequences associated with not resolving the conflict swiftly. When conflicts are prolonged it decreases productivity and can lead to termination involving all parties.
All in all, be a great negotiator by helping the associates involved achieve what they want out of the conflict.
8. Do I behave professionally at work?
Are you acting as the role model your store needs? Are you professional in your mannerism, words, and actions?
Employees are inspired when they see their leader working hard and being the role model of the store. The following are some examples of what will inspire your staff to work as hard as you:
- Dedicating yourself to the store and willingness to work long hours for the store
- Giving credit to the team or other employees rather than to yourself
- Avoiding gossip, rumors, and excessive socializing in the work place
- Communicating in a way that is thoughtful and effective
- Arriving to work and meetings in a timely fashion
If you aren’t the one setting the standard in the above areas, you are setting up your staff to develop bad habits. It is much easier to start off an employee on the right foot than it is to correct bad habits.
When doing reviews on your staff, ask them to do self-assessments and then compare their notes to yours. If there are any major differences then discuss with that associate where the differences lie and what you would like them to do to improve in those areas.
9. Do I inspire my staff?
When you’re at work are you enthusiastic? Cheerful? Personable? A great store manager knows how to inspire the staff to be perform their best.
Enthusiasm has to come from the manager for the staff to feel excited about work too. The manager should express a genuine interest in the well-being of Lotus AND those who work for the company. The best store managers are friendly in the way they act and speak with other associates, managers, and upper management. Make sure every time you see someone you work with you are greeting them with a friendly “Hello!” because doing so has a much bigger impact on a person’s life than most people realize.
Ensure your employees know you consider all of them a valuable piece to the puzzle that keeps Lotus a successful retail store.
10. Do I listen to my staff?
Effective store managers not only know how to communicate with their staff, but they also know how to listen. This communication channel is a two way street and necessary for the success of your store.
- Encourage your associates to communicate openly about work and their personal lives
- Summarize what your employee(s) said by repeating it back to them so they have the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings
- Ask your employees to openly express any feelings they have about issues they may be encountering
- Keep your focus completely on the employee; this is not the time to tell personal stories
- Encourage the associate to come up with a solution to the problem rather than you offering advice
- Maintain good eye contact when in conversation