Most business owners who are successful believe they are also great managers. The truth is, many are not and in fact the leading cause listed by employees for leaving a job is due to their manager or the management at the company they left.
Managers have a direct impact on their employees and cannot only affect the morale of the employees, but also the sales. Unhappy employees sell far less than happy employees. You should motivate not only yourself as a business owner, but also your management staff to be better leaders and help your employees have a better work environment.
Tip 1: Know Everything
You may know fishing, you may know tackle, you may know every customer by name, but do you really know what you’re doing? Do you know how to sell customers tackle better than everyone else in your store? Can you do every employee’s job in the store? By knowing what everyone does, and how they do it you can help them better when problems arise, or help them find ways to streamline the process. Make sure you, and every person on your management staff is cross-trained in every facet of your business. No job should seem too low or demeaning for anyone on your management team. Once they are all trained on every job, make sure they keep up-to-date on changes that occur in each department and can step in at a moment’s notice to help, not hinder, an employee who requires assistance.
Tip 2: Trust Your Staff
While you may know every job within the store, trust your staff and don’t micromanage them as they do their tasks. If they are doing things a bit differently but it gets the job done quickly and efficiently, then let them keep doing it their way. By letting them own the solution they will take more pride in the job and have less fear of failure. As small projects arise, let your employees take ownership of them and have them complete them. The more trust you put in them, the more innovative and dedicated they will be to your store. If a project doesn’t turn out as it should, find out where the breakdown occurred and fix that problem. Then work with the employee to complete the project correctly. At no time though, should you blame the employee for the project’s initial results. Less blame and more encouragement will get you further in today’s work environment.
Tip 3: Set Goals
Employees who have no goals, or explicit expectations tend to become mired down and less productive. If they have never been given a list of goals or expected results, how can they achieve anything? Sit down with each employee and map out a plan for him or her. The plans should cover the coming month, quarter and year. Let them help set their own goals and work with them on accomplishing each one. Make sure you or your management staff checks in occasionally to see how they are progressing and what assistance they may need.
Tip 4: Give Gold Stars
Employees who have goals and are recognized for their achievements, are happier employees. The same can be said for employees who are also recognized for their hard work or resourcefulness in stressful situations. Take time out of your schedule, monthly, quarterly or yearly to recognize those employees who are making a difference in your store. Not only will they continue to be happier employees, but their fellow employees will work that much harder to gain recognition as well. How you reward your employees is up to you, but remember to give them all something to reach for.
Tip 5: Stick to Business
Everyone has a personal life, and there are times when our personal lives are overwhelming. The issues we may have in our personal life need to remain out of the work environment, for both managers and employees. If there is an issue between a manager and an employee, it needs to be resolved so both can move on and be more successful and happy at work. If needed, separate the two as often as possible on the work schedule to avoid confrontations. Employees will look to their manager or their manager’s manager for help when situations like this arise. Be prepared to handle interpersonal problems within your team. Two bad apples can spoil a great sales team.
If you find employees who are more worried about what others are doing outside of work and less about their own duties within work, you need to address the problem as quickly as you can. Gossip and rumors can ruin a team very quickly; it will create trust issues and an unfriendly work environment.
Tip 6: Know When to Admit You’re Wrong
In business, sometimes people are promoted beyond their ability. When this happens, problems can quickly arise. Not everyone is able to be a manager – if you find a manager that is not cutting it, work with him or her to become a better manager. If the job is just too daunting for them, accept it and put them in a role that is more beneficial to you as an employer and will keep them happy as an employee. No one likes to be frustrated by their work. Do not create more issues for them by putting them in a role they cannot handle.
You should also be prepared to admit that you’re wrong in front of employees and let them see your human side whenever you make a mistake. Mistakes happen and we are all human. Always believing you are right and others are wrong is a great way to distance employees and customers from you and your store. Never should you let employees believe you are always wrong, but when a mistake occurs, take ownership of it and set an example for your team.
These six tips are a great start to better leadership and management within small retail stores. You each have your own that you could share with us all. What tactics do you use to manage your staff better? Have you found simple tactics that you deploy to motivate your staff that has resulted in better customer satisfaction or better sales? Share your tips with us all on our Facebook page or in our LinkedIn group. Who knows, you may pick up a few tips yourself.