I was talking to a frustrated CEO last week. Their No. 1 store was failing, and he felt it was the manager’s fault.
I asked, “What were his qualifications for having that role at the No. 1 store in your chain?”
He replied, “Well, he was the No. 1 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 must 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 retail employees are not used to having an effective boss, 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 be an effective manager, so they fall on their faces when you put them in charge of others.
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 leadership in your store – and you should if you’re trying to compete with Amazon and the online bandits – take note.
Five ways how to develop an awesome manager
1. Know the difference between managing people and retail task management. Ask managers, and they'll tell you they are overwhelmed with task management. 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 to develop their communication skills. It takes you informing your manager they now have a level of responsibility and accountability in a leadership role, and it revolves around a lot more than tasks.
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 making one point and using an example or analogy to ensure 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 of what managers do, what they 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 developing ways to deliver your training, rewarding 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 the next steps. If a behavior pattern is serious, they must 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 does the job to grow your sales, they must share in more than an atta-boy. Therefore, you must create a path for employees who want to accept more management responsibilities and become more valuable to receive more money and promotions. Knowing how to develop managers is key for a retailer.
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 double-checking invoices, helping with the register, or creating lists. To have an amazing sales team, you must train your managers to know the difference between being a top salesperson and becoming a top sales team leader.