December 1, 2015

What it Takes to Become an Awesome Retail Manager


A good retail manager makes sure that employees are happy and that the store is running efficiently. He or she needs to understand how the retail world works. A good retail manager knows how to manage the floor, make sure the store displays are vibrant and inviting, keep inventory counts in check and successfully schedule staff for optimal results.

But what does it take to be a truly great retail manager? To become an awesome retail manager, you need to take the next step. Not only should your employees be content, they should be motivated to continue learning and evolving within their roles.

Having a great retail manager can make all the difference for your store. The perfect retail manager helps elevate the entire team. This results in not only a better working environment but usually in better sales and a more successful company in the long run.

Do you think that you’re an awesome retail manager? Here are some of the abilities that you must possess in order to claim such an esteemed title.

Turning Good Employees Into Great Ones

Just as you have good retail managers and great ones, the same goes for employees. But a great retail manager should be able to get the best out of his or her staff. Not only that, the right manager will be able to properly motivate staff to strive towards becoming better at what they do.

Set Performance Goals

The best way to inspire employees to perform at a higher level is to set goals and to reward accomplishments. However, these goals should not be decided on just by the manager. Have a discussion with each of your employees individually and set achievable goals together. It doesn’t matter what the goals are based on; whether it’s something measurable like sales or something more abstract like improving communication with customers, agree on goals that work for each employee and keep track of their progress.

Once you have set the goals, be sure to ask your employees how you can help them achieve their objectives. Setting goals is a good first step, but great retail managers also help their employees reach them.

Instead of simply letting them loose and later confronting them if they are not meeting these goals, coach them along the way. Set up achievable goals and follow your employees’ progress along the way. If they are struggling to meet these goals, investigate why that’s so. Then try to find a solution. Great managers don’t reprimand their employees for not meeting set expectations. They coach and encourage their employees to not give up on them.

Encourage Contributions

The best managers should not only encourage employees to better themselves, they need to create an atmosphere in which employees aren’t afraid to make recommendations that can potentially make the entire company better. The benefits of this type of approach work both ways.

You and your store are getting potentially great ideas from employees that the higher-ups would have probably never thought of, and at the same time, your employees are feeling motivated and empowered because contributing their ideas makes them feel like an integral cog working towards the company’s cumulative success.

Remember, the manager doesn’t have to be the only problem solver on the team. Use your employees’ knowledge and ask them for their input regularly. If anyone is more in tune with what could help make your store experience better, it’s the people who work there every day.

Becoming More Than a Manager

The phase “being more than a manager” is often misinterpreted. It does not mean that you should be friends with your coworkers and start hanging out in the mall with them on weekends. Being more than a manager, more than anything, means being a mentor and a leader to them.

Be a Mentor

Acting as a mentor to your employees is probably the most difficult, but also most integral, part of becoming an awesome retail manager. A mentor is not just someone who encourages employees to become better at what they do, a great mentor guides them through the process. If you are a retail manager, there’s a good chance that you didn’t start there. You probably started on the floor or in the stockroom and can relate to what your employees are experiencing on an everyday level.

Don’t keep all that experience to yourself; show your employees the ropes and help them deal with all the problems that you’ve learned to deal with along the way. One of the most important traits of a good mentor is not only having knowledge worth sharing, but the willingness to take the time and effort needed to share it.

Show Interest

There’s a big difference between showing personal interest in your employees and becoming buddies with them. Great managers don’t need to become their employees’ best friend, but letting them know that you see them as a real person and not just a part of your retail machine is going to be huge when it comes to creating a caring and positive work environment for them.

The best managers are able to recognize that their employees have lives outside of work. Some might still be in school, others might have children. Letting them know that you understand how important these things are and that you are willing to help them organize their work lives around their personal lives can be a huge motivational booster for them.

Showing that you care about them as people, not just as workers, can go a long way when it comes to employee motivation and dedication to your store. Awesome retail managers are hard to come by and employees know that. Which is why better managers also help their stores in minimizing employee turnover rates.

Handling Conflicts Well

Conflicts at work are inevitable, especially in the high-stress world of retail. Great retail managers are able to defuse conflicts in the workplace effectively. The best retail managers are able to turn these work tensions into solutions. Usually, conflicts arise due to some aspect of the job that makes employees unhappy or uncomfortable. Being able to tackle these issues head on and work to find a solution that will defuse the situation is crucial.

Be the Voice of Reason

Remember, you are representing the company. Make sure that you are neutral throughout the conflict and all of your decisions are being guided solely with the best interests of the store in mind.

How you handle disagreements is crucial to how your employees see you as a leader. It’s important to be level-headed. No matter how frustrating the circumstances, be as calm, cool and collected as possible when working through these issues. Great managers rise to the occasion and lead the team through the turbulence with grace and strength.


The best way to make the right decisions when it comes to ending workplace conflicts is to make sure that you are fully informed before you start trying to find a solution. It might be a cliche, but communication really is a two-way street.

Talk to the two parties in conflict first. It’s also a good idea to hold separate talks to decrease the chance of further escalations. Make sure that you take notes and then repeat to each employee what you have heard, allowing them to clear up any misapprehensions.

You should not only be asking your employees about the problem, ask them what they believe the solution should be as well before you start trying to mend it.

Leading By Example

A great retail manager is a role model. The best managers inspire their employees on an everyday basis. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.

Are you in the store every day working with your staff or are you only checking in on them periodically? Are you taking two-hour lunch breaks while they only get a half hour to eat? If you behave in a professional manner and lead by example, your employees will follow you. If your actions are demonstrating a lack of interest for what’s going on in the store, their interest will wane as well.

Exude Professionalism

A big part of being a role model to your employees is demonstrating your dedication to them and to the store. A great manager puts in the long hours along with his or her team. If an employee does something that helps the entire store or presents a great idea, you need to give credit where credit is due. If you expect your team members to come to work on time and to never miss a meeting, then you should be doing the same.

The level of professionalism you want to demonstrate also calls for responsible and thoughtful communication. A great manager never gets involved in the rumor mill at work. Great managers always have their eyes open and are able to notice a brewing conflict before it boils over.

In order to avoid the manifestation of negative behaviors in your store, you need to set a good example for your employees in all facets of work life.


If you want to inspire your employees, enthusiasm is the secret ingredient. Show up with a smile even if you aren’t having the greatest of mornings. Muster up enthusiasm and remain cheerful and positive on an everyday basis.

An awesome retail manager always appears to be excited about making the store a better place to work. Great managers show genuine interest in the store and the people working in it.

Confidence also inspires. Demonstrate to your employees that you have a good idea of where the store needs to go and work every day to take it there. Communicate your vision clearly and let your employees know that they represent an integral part of that vision.