Inspiring retail leadership


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I recently asked a client’s store directors for examples of how they inspired an employee or their staff in the past week. Not to be clichéd, but they inspired me with their responses.

I’d love to share all of their examples, but since that would be a very long post I’ll limit myself to three. These three really stood out to me because they are such great examples of action and not just talk.

This first one, from Anitra, I think is absolutely brilliant. Her store needed some big days to bring in their month, and it was vital that her team believed they could actually sell that much.

The first thing Anitra did was to ask an employee who had just had a huge sales day herself to help her in getting the team to believe they could do it. It’s one thing to cheer people on. It’s another when an employee can say to her colleagues, “I did it, and you can, too.”

Anitra also posted a big note in the back room saying that she believed the team could achieve these stretch goals. Then she wrote down two strengths of each employee who was working that day to show why she believed each person could be successful.


Putting each employee’s strengths up in big bold letters did a few things. First and foremost it showed that she believed the team had the skills to reach their stretch goals. Anitra wasn’t just being a cheerleader. She linked the staff’s abilities to the goals, and that gave them confidence.

Secondly, it kept the staff’s strengths front and center for the day. They not only remained focused on what they could do, but they also leveraged each other’s strengths throughout the day.

Last but not least, seeing their strengths written down for their peers to see gave each individual a sense of pride and made them believe in themselves.

I’d file this idea away to use on that last weekend before Christmas or some other big day. What an inspiring idea.

Another favorite was from Jusdean.

Jusdean was talking with a staff member about calling customers about a promotion at the store. The employee said that she thinks calling the customer is too pushy. Jusdean suggested that it isn’t pushy since the customer willingly shared his/her phone number and contact information.

At this point I think many managers would have just encouraged their employee to go make the calls. Jusdean knew it was important that not only does an employee need to hear that it’s okay to call a customer, she needs to believe it and know how to do it.

Jusdean asked the employee to shadow her as she made a call with the customer. Just as important, she told the employee her techniques BEFORE she made the call so the employee could watch and listen for them.

Jusdean made sure the employee saw that she tried to act like the customer was right in front of her in the store, not like she was making a telemarketing call. She also told the employee to listen for the way she presented the promotion to the customer with energy and enthusiasm.

After the call, the employee felt more confident and was able to make the rest of calls without apprehension. Jusdean also noticed that the employee was even more confident talking about the promotions with the customers in the store.

What I love about this example is that Jusdean made the time to show someone how to do something she wasn’t comfortable doing. It can be challenging for a manager to slow down and teach instead of tell, but it’s these teachable moments that allow employees to grow and develop.

Here’s a similar example of inspiring people by leading by example.

So many managers talk about their staff having and using clientele books, but how many have and use them themselves? Sue, another of my client’s directors, inspired her team by making eight sales in one day simply by contacting the customers from her client book.

Not only were the employees working that morning impressed, but as the night shift came in Sue’s eight sales from the book were the talk of the day.

Again, anyone can try to inspire with words, but it’s actions and results that make the biggest impression and deliver the most inspiration.

Thank you Anitra, Jusdean, Sue, and the other executives, owners, and managers who inspire me every week. You are truly extraordinary!

So let me ask, how will you inspire your team this week?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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