By David Kindl
Advisory Board, Retail Doctor Group

At Retail Doctor Group, we work with retailers to help them improve and prosper. We assess each part of their business, identify opportunities for growth, how we can make improvements and ultimately implement initiativeswhilst working closely with the client, to achieve the outcomes they desire.  

One key area is to have a high performing Leadership Style that impacts the entire organisation.  

Retail is all about people providing great products and services to customers. These days, customers can sense unhappy and unsupportive retail teams a mile away and they avoid making purchases from them. The old adage happy staff happy customers” applies and never more so than across all retail distribution channels. 

Having worked with many retail leaders, at Retail Doctor Group, we have developed some simple guidelines for CEOs to be fun, fair and effective with their retail teams. 

Firstly, the leader should be able to understandcommunicate and totally commit to the purposes of the organisation. These goals then need to be set and shared with the team, so they are all moving forward together. 

Next, we need leaders who work well in a team and enjoy the collaboration of working with people. They can get the best out of every person’s skills and make it crystal clear what every single team member is meant to be doing and contributing.  

Furthermore, getting the team to enjoy coming to work every day can make a differenceEnsuring a happy, fun and positive workplace is in place is a crucial task for a great retail leader. There are always ups and downs in retail, especially over the last 12 months. Thus, it is important for a leader to be resilient and steady. Leaders should not impose their moods on the team when times are tough. Treating all team members equally and fairly is also a sign of a fine retail leader. 

Leaders should never forget the importance of rewards and recognition. If someone has done a good job, let them know, and even better, provide a structured reward system for good behaviours and above average results. A bonus is the best cheque to write. 

We are fans of CEOs who practice MBWA (management by wandering around). The great CEOs know this intuitively and practice it every day, be it with stores, warehouse floor, admin offices team members or with customers.  

People love to learn, and a great retail leader will teach and share their knowledge with the team. In addition, leader should stay humble and is aware they themselves do not know everything. They continually learn and improve their skills. They will access networks and mentors who can help them do better. 

Speaking of doing better, a high-performing leader will never be happy just doing a good job themselves. They will equally want their team to do great work as they understand that their role includes helping their people continually thrive.  

Ask yourself – is this how the leaders in your retail business behave? Are your results above benchmarks? Is your retail team looking after your customers the way you want them to? 

There is always room to improve, and it starts at the top. 

Happy retailing. 

David Kindl is part of our RDG Advisory Board.