How To Be A Great Retail Team Member

How To Be A Great Retail Team Member

As you may know the ability to work well on a retail team can make or break your retail reputation and professional brand. As a matter of fact – in a previous article I mention how great retail teams tend to “weed out” those colleagues who are not great collaborators [even though they may be great employees] if they can’t support their team members.  Great team players are able to do more, get greater satisfaction from their work and make a bigger impact on their companies and their coworkers through combined behaviors. Here are some of those shared qualities and behaviors that make for the best team members:

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  • Prioritize Getting To Know Your Colleagues: Check in with your co-workers daily—it could be as simple as a 10-minute catch-up in the morning or a daily “coffee date”. Plan team activities and build traditions—for example, Music Mondays, Cooking Class Fridays or Eat-Out Fridays – and stick to it. This will build trust, establish relationships, help show support and commitment to the other team members.
    • To make employees happier and more productive and to help them assimilate into the culture we set up casual blind dates that are strictly professional. These are quick “speed dating” interactions that are fun and allow people to learn about each other, professionally. We use this for new hire on-boarding but it is fun to use when you are establishing a team to work together on a project as well. It works best in conjunction with a workplace happy-hour. [I  this program and it has worked wonders for collaboration and culture.]
  • Be Authentic and Vulnerable: People need to feel like you genuinely care about the team and their responsibilities and that you are equally invested in the success of the project, the team, the retail organization in order to gain perspective on your authenticity. People who possess hidden agendas and or ulterior motives are easy to spot – even if they think they are too smart for that – they’re not.  Teams also need a safe space to share thoughts, frustrations, be comfortable sharing innovative [possibly unorthodox] ideas to get the results needed to be achieve success. Being accepting of this and creating a team environment free of judgement is critical to the success of a team. Which brings me to my next point…

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  • No Gossiping: When and if there is a business conflict/misunderstanding or you cannot achieve a meeting of the minds – talk it through like responsible and respectful coworkers.  Don’t pretend to listen and then dismiss your colleagues ideas. Be honest and forthcoming with them. Maybe the idea isn’t great but pieces of it may be and those are important. When we create conflict by not addressing issues respectfully – we are the ones at fault and not exhibiting behaviors that are conducive to being a great business partner. Great team members help find solutions and encourage sharing of creative ideas – even off the wall ones.
  • Passionately Support Your Coworkers: This works in conjunction with being authentic and vulnerable. Great teammates build each other up. They take rough ideas and make them better. They give credit where and when it is due. They celebrate successes. They recognize accomplishment. They acknowledge each other for what they contribute. They are there to support their team member when challenges arise and they help turn obstacles into opportunity through collaboration. There is honestly, respect, and a high-level of communication on truly strong teams. Great team members also ruthlessly deliver results that support and impress their coworkers as they do not want to disappoint or hurt their team by being late or under-deliver their portions of the  team initiative.

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  • Be An Amazing Listener: Listen, digest, and truly understand what your teammates are sharing. Give them 100% of your attention and focus. When you are in the midst of updates, communicating, or during your team activities – turn off the notifications on your laptops and devices [yes, even the vibrate notification] so that you are showing respect for the individuals and the team without the potential for distraction. After all, we expect the same courtesy when it’s our time to share.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail and 18 year retailer. I am a passionate and creative leader and coach committed to inspiring thought, action, truth-telling, solution-seeking, and dialog about how to maximize talent through identifying and creating a process around critical success factors, workplace culture, signature leadership practices, productivity, profitability, alignment of employees and company vision & values, and workplace happiness inside all retail organizations. I help create healthy, vibrant, high-performing, and highly-productive organizations that are talent magnets and focused on delivering the highest level of customer experience that will differentiate them from competition and result in long-term growth and sustainability.

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