5 Ways To Develop Top Managers In Your Store

By Bob Phibbs

employee managementI was talking to a frustrated CEO last week. Their number one store was failing and he felt it was the manager’s fault.

 I asked, “What were his qualifications for having that role at the #1 store in your chain?”

 He replied, “Well, he was number one salesperson, so he deserved it.”

That’s when I stopped him...

Just because someone knows how to sell your merchandise does not mean they know how to motivate a crew and manage your store.

I see this frequently, people falsely equate that having the skill to do one thing well means they have the skill to do something else well too. That would be like saying, because my daughter is a great swimmer, she could be a great surfer.

I also see this with managers who feel that just because an employee knows everything about their merchandise they will be effective at selling it, but it frequently is the opposite.

Many employees are not used to having an effective boss, not used to being called on the carpet for bonehead mistakes, or seeing people being fired. That’s because many business owners are so desperate for employees that they’ll put up with anything,

That means those employees who miraculously find a way to operate in such an environment haven’t seen what it takes to manage others so when you put them in charge of others, they fall on their face.

 And then you blame them, not the real culprit which is… wait for it…you. 

You wouldn’t let your teenager drive your car without certifying they know how to control the car so why would you trust someone with the very keys to your existence?

To help you develop leaders in your store – and you should if you’re trying to compete with Amazon and the online bandits – take note.

5 Ways To Develop An Awesome Manager 

1. Know the difference between managing people and managing tasks. Ask managers and they’ll tell you the one thing they are overwhelmed with is managing tasks. Managing tasks is just asking, “Did they get it done?” That’s not hard. You must train your managers to ask, “How can I get my employees to achieve more sales?” That takes thinking, planning, and execution skills. That takes retail sales training for your managers. It takes you informing your manager they now have a level of responsibility and accountability that they didn’t have as an employee and it revolves around a lot more than tasks. 

7 Skills Every Retail Manager Needs To Succeed

2. Train the why more than the how. Managing isn’t just about creating raving customers, it is more about creating raving employees. A manager’s role is to make the team love working there so much that they will make your customers happy. That takes spending enough time with your shift leads so they understand why what they are doing is important. It revolves around the ability to make one point and use an example or analogy to make sure the employee understands why something is important. And it means if they don’t get it with one analogy or example, you come up with others until they do.

3. Have clear expectations what managers do, are responsible for, and how you’ll hold them accountable. All of the manager descriptions I’ve created over the past three decades begin with Achieve and exceed monthly revenue goals. Everything else can wait. With the expectation of increasing sales, they can understand their role is coming up with ways to deliver your training, reward those who are engaging shoppers, and most importantly, letting laggards go quickly.

4. Teach how to give feedback. You have to teach managers how to notice correct behaviors, ask permission to give feedback, share their intention is only to help, be specific on what was seen, discuss why it happened, and give next steps. If it is a behavior pattern that is serious, they have to write the employee up.  Beyond that, you must teach managers that different personality styles require different handling.

5. Have a path of learning. Where much is expected, much should be given. If someone is doing the job to grow your sales, they need to share in more than an atta-boy. For that reason, you need to create a path for employees who want to accept more management responsibilities and become more valuable to receive more money and promotions.

 See also, How To Give Feedback To Employees

In Sum

Being an effective leader means you aren’t in it to be liked, you’re in it to move the needle of performance around specific behaviors the crew needs to accomplish to grow sales.

 That isn’t making sure to double-check invoices, help on the register, or create lists. To have an amazing sales team, you need to train your managers to know the difference between being top salesperson and being the leader of a top sales team.

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