Looking for quick tips about how to set a positive example for staff members by taking the impact of your role as “boss” seriously? You’ve found ten tips here.
•Be on time every day. It’s your business. Lead by example.
•Don’t make a habit of leaving early. Your employees will resent you if you walk out the door at three and call them from the gym at five-thirty to check in.
•Don’t go drinking with your assistant. Or swap stories. Again, you’re the adult now. You need to set the example. What you do in your private time away from the office should remain fodder for your peers, not your subordinates. Even when you’re dying to tell someone about last night’s disastrous date, resist the urge.
•Don’t ask them to do anything that is not work-related. It’s rude and fosters resentment. This includes walking your dog, picking up your dry cleaning, and buying your personal holiday presents, unless, of course, the job is personal assistant.
•Don’t let them hear you on personal calls. Again, you are the adult. Not only will they will imitate you for months if they hear you refer to your husband as “Dr. Love,” they will feel entitled to be on their own calls all day.
•You are not their friend. Be a pleasant boss, but never leave the door open to talk about the dating drama. You will want your employee to feel comfortable talking to you about serious personal problems (especially if they will impact her job performance) - a sick mother or child-care problem, for example. But the last thing you can afford is to become a surrogate therapist for employee dating or marital woes.
•Pitch in when you can. If you have assigned what you know to be a tedious task, such as mailing five hundred company brochures, spend at least a few minutes pitching in. This is your team; make it happen together. A little willingness to get your hands dirty will go a long way when you need a really big ditch dug.
•Do not share company financial issues or problems. If your employees suspect things are not going well, they will be looking for another job before you know it. There is a whole philosophy of open-book management that works in big public companies (the law requires it, anyway), but in small companies you don’t need your employees second-guessing your decisions.
•If something goes wrong with a client or customer, you have to take the blame. As the boss, you are responsible for everything running smoothly. If you have a problem employee, you need to monitor her closely, provide more training, or let her go. You cannot make bad employees the scapegoats for mistakes.
•Manage, but don’t smother. Granted this is your business and you’ve got the most to lose, but you’ve got to let your employees take responsibility for their workload. Guide, cajole, pester — don’t suffocate. Caitlin Friedman Kimberly Yorio
For some retail managers, the most difficult part of their job is the people part.
The same leaders who can easily manage their inventory, manage their facilities, manage their books, and manage their profit margins, are often the same ones who find themselves at a loss when it comes to managing the behavior and performance of their employees. “Why can’t they just do what I tell them to do?” is the management cry heard around the retail world.
Let’s remove the mystery about employee engagement once and for all. If your employees aren’t performing with excellence in every way, every day, with no exceptions, there are only two reasons why:
1) They can’t.
2) They don’t want to.
There’s no mystery really, no psychological complexities, and no complicated management theories. There are just two simple root causes. Either your employees lack something essential which prevents them from performing with excellence, or they don’t achieve excellence because they simply don’t want to.
Managers need to think of these two root causes as separate disorders which require accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Just as band-aids won’t fix a broken bone, a how-to training class won’t fix a broken spirit. Successful retail leadership requires more doctoring and less managing in order to keep the people part of the operation healthy.
Employees Don’t Because They Can’t
No matter how much you request, demand, cajole or beg your employees for a certain level of performance, sometimes they don’t give it to you because they can’t. If you’ve been a manager for more than a week, you know there are some employees who put no creativity into their work except when it comes to excuse-making. These are the masters of “can’t.”
It is a huge mistake, though, to assume that every “can’t” you hear is nothing more than a justification for laziness. There are some (usually many) legitimate barriers in every operation that make it difficult or impossible for employees to complete their tasks, make their deadlines, and generally meet your expectations.
Identify Barriers to Excellence
You can separate legitimate barriers from unfounded whining by asking your employees one simple question: “What makes it difficult or impossible for you to do your job with excellence every day, in every way, with no exceptions?” The legitimate barriers that your employees identify will fall into four categories:
Identifying these barriers is an extremely easy task. Your employees think about them, get frustrated with them, and talk about them behind your back quite frequently! If given the opportunity to communicate without fear of recrimination, your employees will help you compile an extensive barriers list with ease.
Eliminate Barriers to Excellence
Eliminating “can’t” excuses from your operation is then simply a matter of eliminating the legitimate barriers. This is usually a much easier undertaking than most managers would expect. Why? Because your employees have already formulated solutions in their heads which usually sound something like, “If I was running this place I would…” Ask your employees for their ideas, and empower them to implement the solutions. Give them a second chance if the solution fails, and praise them in public when they succeed.
Some Employees Just Don’t Want To
The best thing about supporting excellence by eliminating barriers is that it leaves nothing for the slackers to hide behind. When you remove the “can’ts,” all that’s left in your operation are employees who excel and employees who obviously need to be replaced.
Replacing employees is not a pleasant task, but don’t procrastinate. High-performing employees have no tolerance for just-get-by co-workers and neither should you. Cutting slackers loose is a necessary part of managing excellence. It raises the bar of performance for everyone, and it’s a surprisingly tangible way to reward those who have been picking up the slack for the slackers.
Supporting Success is Managing Excellence
The people part of a retail operation is not as puzzling as it sometimes seems. When you set your employees up for success by listening to their challenges and eliminating their barriers, the work you receive from them in return will take away most of the mystery of human resources management. bfarfan