Unlike managers in some other industries, few retail managers have degrees in management. Managers in retail face a variety of challenges in a fast-paced, competitive environment something they can cope with from their degrees.
Key challenges for retail managers
Within retail, a managers goal is to maximise productivity which is proven to be a challenge. The staff are likely to be either inexperienced, part-time or seasonal but with retail hours being long to that sales targets are likely to be unreadable. In this environment this is where good managers will shine, they are skilled in four key areas;
• Managing time.
• Recruiting and supervising staff.
• Building skilled and motivated sales and service teams.
• Managing change.
An effective manager must be effective in all areas, not just one.
Time — a Fixed Resource; It’s well known that there are tight budgets, information overload and lean staff. Its proving to be harder for retail managers, managers that can manage the time well can do these things;
• Know when to solve a problem immediately, when to put something off and when to delegate.
• Eliminate time wasters.
• Handle interruptions.
• Say “no” to unreasonable demands.
• How to Lead, Not Just Manage, Staff.
Retail managers that have proven to be effective can encourage and facilitate self-management among their personnel. This is done by;
• Communicating and evaluating performance standards by focusing on specific behaviours and outcomes.
• Using appropriate reinforcement techniques.
• Gaining commitment to performance goals.
• Maintaining an atmosphere that values sharing information in downward, upward and peer-to-peer directions.
• Coaching for results.
• Setting realistic goals and follow-up dates.
• Teamwork Lightens the Load.
Retail managers to have any personal life must be able to trust staff to work and problem solved themselves. Skilled managers can work continually at;
• Delegating responsibility.
• Establishing group goals.
• Aligning staff people and their roles so that cross-training and cooperation can thrive.
• Identifying and securing resources so people can do their jobs well.
• Motivating the team to work together and support each other even in stressful times.
• Leveraging individual differences and valuing diversity.
In retail, change is a given
Within retail the drive to success is change, the styles evolve, customers’ needs and wants change. There is always market leadership with competitors and thrive for success. Retail management means to change by…
• Anticipating change.
• Leading group problem solving.
• Managing transition.
• Championing innovation.
• Reducing resistance to change.
• Retailers Value Training.
The National Retail Federation’s 90th Annual Convention released a study that management skills are the most frequently addressed training subject of US retail companies.
“As retailers expand, acquire properties, reposition or rebrand, managers become the critical players in communicating and instilling change throughout the organisation,” stressed Michael Patrick, CEO of MOHR Learning, the company that conducted the study. “Clearly retailers want to make sure their managers have the skills needed to do this job.”
Leadership Is Not Just for Top Management
Good retail managers learn how to move from a focus on a day to day basis. They focus implanting strategies as a leader whose main responsibility for moving the organisation into the future.
It’s your dream so learn and practice the skills to move your team or department forward productively and decisively.