We all need time away from work to clear our mind, recharge our batteries, and dedicate precious time to our family and friends. That's easier said than done for many owners, managers, and executives.
When I started managing my first store at The Sharper Image I was always stopping by or checking in with the team on my days off. It didn't bother me at all to give up a few minutes of my free time, but I eventually discovered that it bothered the team. They interpreted my actions as a lack of trust that they could run the store without me, which of course was far from the truth. But their perception was their reality.
Whether it's just a day or two, or a weeklong vacation, there are certain actions you can take (or not take!) to make your days off a better experience for your staff.
1. Don't "check-in." If the staff needs you, they'll find you. If you want to know sales results or anything else on your day off then ask that the information be sent to you via email. Let the team run the store without you, and more important it's good for you to disconnect.
2. Use your time away as a growth and learning opportunity for your assistant. Your absence is a wonderful opportunity for your assistant to practice and develop his/her leadership skills. Just make sure that the two of you identify those behaviors and actions before you leave, not after you return.
Maybe you'll have your assistant work on coaching on the floor, or running better Take Fives. Whatever it is, you'll make her time in charge more valuable by asking her to document one or two examples each day for the two of you to review upon your return. You'll be amazed how that little exercise turns a development opportunity from theory into action.
3. Establish decision-making parameters. It's great practice for an assistant manager to step-up and run the store while an owner or manager is on vacation, but he can't do that if he doesn't know what he can and cannot do.
Make it easy by defining what decisions he does or do not need to contact you about. It can be something as simple as, "You make any and all decisions that will cost the company $350 or less. Anything beyond that, just give me a quick call and we'll discuss."
4. Don't second-guess those decisions. Sometimes the assistant, or someone else on the team, will make a decision you don't agree with. That's part of empowering people. If you start second-guessing those decisions you disempower your team and they won't be able to make decisions in your absence. What you can do is to learn why the person made the decision he/she did, and discuss how a different decision might be made the next time.
5. Set clear expectations before you leave. I worked for a manager once who was always mad on her first day back to work from vacation or a few days off. We never seemed to live up to her expectations - but we never knew what she expected! Be clear about what you're looking for. Set your team up for success, not failure.
So let me ask, how successful are your days off?
Doug Fleener is a proven retail and customer experience expert that helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their results. Visit our website or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create an extraordinary experience and results.