Five skills every retail manager needs to succeed
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from The Retail Doctor’s Blog.
Most retailers promote from within, and while that can be good for morale, many times it is bad for business. There are certain skills that go a long way to ensure a retail manager has what it takes to succeed:
- Multi-tasking. A manager must be able to oversee all the employees, keeping their abilities and weaknesses in mind while prioritizing multiple projects. I call this “being up in the blimp” — looking at the action on the field rather than being in the game.
- Decision-making. Retail often means actions must be acted upon quickly, but making the right decision rapidly without mistakes means evaluating information to weed through what is important and what isn’t. You don’t want a manager who looks at a situation over and over without making a decision — right or wrong.
- The best managers know how to get the most out of their employees while building them up in the process. That means using judicious, constructive criticism instead of belittling. It means treating others with respect instead of “my-way-or-the-highway.” It means leading by example instead of “do as I say.”
- Business development skills. Streamlining procedures, hiring the best associates, training them correctly and cutting costs are several ways a manager can help.
- Effective communication. Only a small percentage of communication is spoken word. Body language, facial expressions and tone of voice all combine with words to convey a message. The best managers have developed the ability to not only communicate the points they are trying to make but also to truly listen to those around them. That means smartphone off and eyes looking at the person as they strive to hear, rather than speak.
This is on top of the most basic expectations: to be on-time every day, stay late when needed without grousing, and pitching in when it is busy without having to be asked.
And any potential raises are achieved by raising sales. Period. “Bless his heart, he’s trying” is fine for a grandma to say of a child, but not for you to say as a manager’s boss.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which skillsets foster the best store managers? What advice would you have around promoting staff to managers?