Simple Ways To Build A Great Retail Team

Simple Ways To Build A Great Retail Team

Having the individual talent needed to drive results is the first step to delivering amazing team results. As a leader you have the ability to inspire, motivate and shape the group of smart, driven, customer-focused individuals through your leadership initiatives, your accessibility, your involvement, and your commitment to being a great business partner.

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Strong working relationships, collaboration, and contribution are things that great talent expects to find in their work culture and they value these qualities in their colleagues. Fostering this culture is something that needs your focused and committed leadership attention – to help support and guide them through any obstacles your individual team members or the collective team may encounter. Your team will look to you to deliver guidance to their career growth, their happiness at work, and to recognize their achievements. Here are some simple but effective ways your team expects you to help them deliver exceptional results:

  • Find Out What They Need From You: Consistently solicit feedback and engage in dialog with your team members [all levels] to find out what they need to deliver greatness. A great leader is empathetic, involved, and a great listener. They will also take action, quickly, to get their teams what they need to be successful.

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  • Lead By Example: If your actions are not aligned with your words and/or the guiding principles of the business you represent – your credibility will be questioned. Your team will follow the example set by their retail leader.  If you want your team to be engaging and accessible with the customer, you need to be to engaging and accessible to your team. It sets the tone for your business and the expectations of delivering an experience. Simply put – You want them to be great – you have to be great.
  • Consistently Reference The Company’s Vision & Values: Sometimes teams can get lost in the minutiae of their roles or in the bubble of their responsibility and when that occurs the goals and objectives of the company can become blurry. Great leaders can always help clarify the vision of the company or project to their team members and help them identify their part in it. Taking the time to stress and communicate the company’s purpose will inspire your team to understand that they are critical to the success of the business.
  • Be Personable: Great people want to work with and for great people. They want someone who is approachable, real, and human.   When you are a leader who is genuine, authentic, honest, and available by proactive recognizing accomplishment and displaying empathy – they will be wildly open to accepting on-going, in-the-moment feedback on opportunity areas as well. Your team will be inclined, when they believe in their leader, to bring innovative ideas and creative solutions to the business – because they realize they will be recognized and appreciated. Nobody wants to be led by an emotionless robot. Let your true personality shine ~ smile, laugh and have fun with your team.
  • Challenge Them: People are 2X more likely to stay in a role that challenges and intrigues them. There are lots of people that don’t know what they are capable of until leaders challenge them to stretch themselves higher. Great retail leaders see potential in people and help them to identify their latent abilities through assignments or challenges that show them what they are capable of. If you never push your team, they will remain just “good enough” to get average results.

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  • Encourage Their Professional & Personal Growth: Find out what their interests are ~ if they aren’t forthcoming…ask. Help them, through mentoring [either finding one for them or being a mentor], to develop career capital in retail leadership. Provide them with tools and resources to learn about the business and successful practices. If your team does well – reward them with a monthly development class in an area that the collective team would benefit from. Invite your top performers to join you at networking events. If your team is exceptional – work with them to plan networking events for the retail industry to support your brand efforts and community talent attraction initiatives.
  • Provide Fair & Balanced Feedback: Your team will benefit tremendously when you show consistency and courage to provide real-time, on-going feedback – recognizing efforts and results and supporting them through their performance challenges equally will help strengthen the individual and collective competencies of your team. Setting the expectation of honest and open feedback will help you build credibility around career guidance and your leadership. This will also help your team members provide you with feedback on things they may need from you keeping the channels of communication open for interactive dialog.
  • Help Them: You establish integrity with your team when they feel that you understand and truly comprehend their role and the challenges they face. The fun parts, the obstacles, the technological frustrations, etc. Sometimes the best thing you can do to support your team is to roll up your sleeves and work along side them.
  • Ask Lots of Questions: I remember the moment I discovered the power of questions with my team and it immediately changed the dynamic of the team. I should clarify that asking the right questions changed the dynamic. By having conversations with them to ensure they were getting satisfaction from their roles, that their career path and mine for them was aligned, that they felt that we were utilizing their skills and abilities correctly.  Doing this gives you valuable information and also gives your team the confidence to follow your lead and ask questions as well.

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  • Create A Culture Of Involvement: Your team wants to be involved with the company’s growth and offer innovative and creative ideas for elevated results. Welcome and encourage them to get involved. Create a method of capturing ideas and a channel for sharing the best ones with the executive leaders in your organization. When employees feel like they are part of the future success it inspires them to be more productive and proactive. Not only does this help the company, but it also prepares the team member for an elevated role in the future.
  • Empower Them: When your team is provided the tools and resources through guidance and development to understand the importance and impact of their role and the need to deliver excellent results you need to let them know they have the power and your support to make decisions that are necessary. This does involve, at times, taking calculated risks and, occasionally, failure. Your team needs to know that is okay…that you will support them and follow up with them to review their process and look for a better solution for the next time. Your team should not fear failure – if they do, they will constantly wait for your approval before making decisions – this can cripple productivity.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail. Published writer. Frequent Podcast Guest. Speaker. Twenty year [oy vey!] retailer. I am passionate about leadership development and workplace culture. 646 246 1380 | [No Sales Contact, please} But it you want to call just to say hello or have a question - that's awesome!

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2 thoughts on “Simple Ways To Build A Great Retail Team

  1. Great quick but filled with important detailed information. Perfect simple to the point.
    I really enjoyed the quick lesson on things that I might have forgotten.
    Thank you
    Well done

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