What new store managers need beyond training
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Contrarian, the blog of the Dynamic Experiences Group.
Since many promotions to store manager involve someone who’s a great individual contributor but has little if any management experience, it’s not surprising when that person takes awhile to find his/her footing.
In addition to providing the appropriate new manager training, there are a few additional ways you can help new managers succeed:
1. Have a regular weekly development meeting for at least the first ninety days. Not a manager’s meeting, but have a 30-45 minute developmental meeting every week to discuss how the new manager is doing. Ask the person to come prepared to discuss one or two aspects of leading and managing he/she did well in the previous week, and one or two things he/she either didn’t know or could have done better. Beyond development, this teaches self-assessment skills.
2. Give the new manager a specific area of the sales or customer experience approach to improve. It can be anything from improving how a customer is greeted to increasing add-ons, etc. Along with placing staff development and elevating the sales experience at the highest priority, it throws the new manager into coaching and developing the staff.
3. Have him/her do a store and staff assessment. Ask the new manager to make a list of what he/she thinks the store is doing well and where it can improve. While this can be very challenging, it teaches the new manager how to look critically at the store and staff. More importantly, it demonstrates that you want his/her unfiltered opinion.
4. Have him/her lead the next staff meeting. Again, this helps position the new manager with the rest of the staff. It also gives you a chance to see how well he/she conducts a staff meeting.
5. Have the new manager be in charge on a busy day even though you’re in the store. Spend your day working the floor, and once each hour pull your new manager aside for some coaching. Do this every week for a couple of months.
6. Have a weekly developmental focus. Each week, focus your new manager on learning one new thing or practicing one new skill or competency. Just one. Don’t overwhelm him/her. There’s plenty of time to develop, and one area of focus a week is a nice steady pace. It also commits you to working with your new manager on key areas of development.
What tips would you have for stores looking to reduce the learning curve for new managers? What other practices would you add to those mentioned in the article?