How to Promote a Happy, Invested, and Productive Staff
The worst management is management that does not listen, is dictatorial in their terms, and makes decisions without consulting everyone involved with those decisions. Unfortunately, this is also the common perception of most managerial roles – a perception that is in great need of a rehaul! Successful management is about more than gross profit margins and allotment of hours to cover a schedule – it is also about relationship building with your staff and clientele as well as providing incentive to flourish and to succeed amongst those working with you.
While nobody would suggest that you have to become best friends with your staff – it is certainly in your best interest to treat them all fairly, equitably, and with a great deal of respect. They are not to be considered peons, underlings, or mere placeholders that will garner you numbers on the tally at the end of the day – your staff must be motivated to impress you through positive reinforcement or your business will pay the full price.
Unmotivated workers are much more likely to call in sick, quit abruptly, or steal from your store simply due to the fact that they feel disrespected or marginalized. Authoritarian motivation is hardly much better – if you rule your staff with an iron fist you will find not only that you can’t keep good help (intelligent people do not take browbeating and intimidation tactics very well) but also that you will lose the respect of your workers. If your workers do not respect you, neither will your clients – before too long it is quite likely that you will be re-assigned or lose your position.
Avoid tyrannizing your staff at all costs – no matter how furious you might be over a given incident. By exerting your power openly and without reserve you will not only alienate any clients that may happen to witness this outburst, but it is quite likely you will alienate a great many of your staff as well, including the likelihood that the direct target of your anger will quit on the spot.
Punishment rarely solves anything in a retail or sales environment due to the nature of the sector – most workers will be more than happy to tell you what to do with your outburst and will exit immediately, leaving you short a worker and with a handful of employees who likely feel the same way about your actions. The simple fact is that good help is getting extremely hard to find, so be aware of this manpower shortage and keep your staff filled with talented and friendly employees even if you might get frazzled at them from time to time.
If you must reprimand an employee, do so tactfully and with the stated intention of helping them learn something new. Everyone makes mistakes, yourself included – so be sure to use constructive criticism rather than a domineering approach.
Positive reinforcement means that you should treat your staff exactly as you would like to be treated in their circumstances. This means being understanding of illness, family issues, economic troubles, or any experience unique to the human condition that may require you to have a chat with your employees. If you take the time to listen to their concerns, and reply politely with your own feelings on the matter, you will see an immediate benefit for this nobility. It is better to be loved as a manager than feared – provided you have ethical and bright staff members – for they will do their best to impress you and to advance their own lot as well.
Contrary to popular belief – nearly all lower echelon sales associates take a great deal of pride in their work and merely want the opportunity to do their best and be praised for their efforts. By appreciating the efforts and hard work of your staff and being receptive to their own issues you will cultivate a much more positive and productive atmosphere in the workplace.