Like most leaders, I’m sure you have an extremely long to-do list. I have so much on mine I’ve renamed it my to-don’t list. But I digress.
There are, though, a few items I recommend every leader of a retail or customer-focused company add to his/her list.
1. Meet with each employee before he/she starts his/her day/shift. I call them Take Five meetings. Some people call them huddles. The most important thing you call them is done. It’s amazing how much better the day goes when everyone knows what is expected, information is shared, and the team feels supported. You can read more about how to do a successful Take Five meeting here.
2. Stop, think, plan, do. I wish someone had told me when I was a young manager to put this on my to-do list. I used to hit my store running. Had to get everything ready and start knocking out everything on my list. Then before I knew it, the day was done. I rarely stopped to think about how I could increase my conversions or average sale. I just did my job. Stop for a few minutes. Think about what you can do to improve your staff and sales performance. Plan to take action today and going forward that will do just that. Do it.
3. Observe your team. For most readers, the most important thing that determines success is what happens between an employee and a customer. Given that importance, I’m constantly amazed by how many leaders don’t find or make the time to intently watch their staff and customer interaction. I once spoke with a storeowner who told me they were spending all of their time trying to turn around the business, but he spent little if any time on the floor. Yikes! Try to schedule time to be on the floor EVERY day. That’s right…schedule it. Put it on your calendar if you have to do it. The answers to how to be even more successful are right in front of you. You just have to observe and learn.
4. Give feedback. If you’re taking the time to observe your staff, you’re going to see something you can praise an employee about. You’ll probably also see an opportunity to help someone to improve. Don’t wait to give feedback until the next one-on-one or, heaven forbid, the next performance review. Tell them now so they can benefit from it!
5. Talk the walk. As leaders we’re supposed to lead by example. Walk the talk, if you will. I think it is more important to talk the walk. That means do what you expect your team to do, and make sure they observe you doing it. It’s easy as, “I’m going to go help that customer. When I get back I want you to give me some feedback on how I did.”
6. Talk to an employee’s customer. Some of us talk to customers off and on in a day, but you can learn more about your customer’s experience and your staff performance by talking to an employee’s customer.
7. Thank the staff. I was taught by one of my early managers to always thank my staff at the end of the day for his/her contribution. I thought it was a nice touch when he did it with me, and my staff seemed to appreciate, too. I then learned another reason he had me do it. There is nothing worse than thanking someone who didn’t contribute to the day’s successes. And you can’t really thank someone for leaving work, at least not with a straight face. Instead, I learned to make sure that employees contributed in a way I could thank them for at the end of the day.
So let me ask, which of these leadership to-dos can you and your staff benefit from the most? It’s amazing the results you can create with just a few leadership to-dos.
Doug Fleener, a proven retail and customer experience expert and consultant, helps companies dramatically improve their customer experience and their sales results. Visit the Dynamic Experiences Group website, or call Doug at 866-535-6331 to discuss how he can help you create extraordinary results.