How Does Your Leadership Style Impact Your Store?

Leadership. It varies from person to person and company to company. As a business owner how you lead your team impacts the overall health and prosperity of your store. Does your team work for you and follow direction out of a feeling of obligation or fear? Do your employees do what they are told to do because of a concern that failing to do so could result in the loss of their job? If this is the feeling of the store associates they may not be doing more than the minimum to get their jobs done. This affects customer service and how employees interact with patrons. Poor service results in poor sales and inefficiency in operations. Leadership is as important as customer service and I would argue the two go hand in hand. I cannot think of a customer service driven business where the delivery of customer service thrived when the managers were loud, bossy or came across as distant.  

     Personally I have attempted to incorporate in my own management style a mix of a couple leadership influences. One is advocated by John Maxwell. The first book of his I read was, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”. In his book he lays out what he describes as 21 principles that apply to leaders. There were a couple of his points that I made a conscious effort to apply (some were already an integral part of who I am) when I was leading my Loss Prevention team, my freight unload/ stocking team and as a Manager on Duty. Two of the characteristics Mr. Maxwell lists, “The Law of Solid Ground” and “The Law of Empowerment” are dimensions I believe can make a major shift in how a store team functions. The first idea is that people have to trust their leader. As a leader do you follow through on commitments to your team? Do you treat every person equally and fairly and do you provide honest feedback even when it may be difficult? The second is that strong leaders are not afraid to give power to others. As you empower your team to make decisions you build their trust in you and you are developing them into leaders. This means you train your team, set expectations and as they are learning, you correct and provide recognition to them.  

     Another leadership style I embrace is servant leadership. This manager is the leader who leads by the example he/she sets. It is also a manager who invests in the development of others. I have incorporated this in the course of my careers. Rather than ask a team member to clean up after a child has been sick in the store I have done it myself. As a freight team manager I frequently came in on a day off to help my team unload a truck and push freight. It is the willingness of the leader to be seen doing the unpleasant tasks alongside the rest of the team. A 70 foot trailer gets awfully hot and humid in the south during the summer. When your team sees you willing to get in that trailer first and rotate others out to avoid exhaustion they are willing to work harder to get the tasks done. Servant leadership does not mean supervision does not take place or that discipline is not occurring. It only means that the manager/supervisor attempts to be empathetic to situations where discipline may be required. These leaders do not allow themselves to be doormats but do look at individual circumstances when the situation warrants it. Think about how an employee is likely to respond to this manager as opposed to the heavy-handed supervisor who gives orders and barks directions.  

     Leadership styles directly influence the way a business operates and how employees function on the job. Yes, you can be the owner and expect workers to do what you tell them to do, but it won’t foster a happy workforce. A leader who cares about the staff helps in their development and empowers them to make decisions will get far better results than the other leader. As customer service improves, productivity improves and the atmosphere of the building is one where shoppers enjoy spending time. It also creates a customer-focused climate where sales associates are actively engaging clients and that leads to a reduction in theft. Happy employees are also less likely to steal and that can impact up to 30% of where shortage traditionally takes place. 

     Evaluate your leadership style. Are you leading the way YOU would want to be led and are there adjustments you can make that can enhance nearly every aspect of your business? Leadership determines how successful your store can be. 

How Businesses Are Combating Shoplifting

Inventory, policies and procedures, and every aspect of how you run your store should be checked regularly.  Implementing policies, or business procedures in your store and never checking whether they are working or not is not profitable. Is your return policy being carried out as it was implemented?  Are you letting employees go unsupervised when it comes to returns?  There are many employees that are exceptional workers and work diligently and honestly, but it’s always better to maintain an atmosphere where they know the owner or management of the store are on top of things.

For more news about this and other topics, follow the links below.

Businesses rally to prevent shoplifting

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Serial shoplifters cost business owners in Pima County $5.91 million a year. On Wednesday, the Pima County Attorney, law enforcement, and local retailers partnered together for the new “We Watch, We Prosecute” campaign to stop thieves.

2016 was the first year ever that 100% of retailers say they were victims of organized retail theft, according to a study by the National Retail Federation.
Police say 80% of organized shoplifters steal because of drug addiction.
The Tucson Metro Chamber brought together retailers, law enforcement and prosecutors to form the Coalition Against Retail Theft (CART).
CART’s “We Watch, We Prosecute” campaign will:
Educate retailers and consumers on protecting themselves from organized theft through workshops.

Increase tools for retailers to identify and help prosecute organized retail thieves by working more with law enforcement.

Westport police capture serial shoplifter

Detectives from the Westport Police Department have arrested a man they say is responsible for a number of shoplifting incidents at Lee’s Supermarket.

Police arrested Gutemberg Freitas of Westport for allegedly shoplifting more than $150 during a number of visits to the supermarket. Freitas was dubbed the “gassy bandit” after taking a package of Beano food enzyme supplements out of its packaging and leaving the store without paying for the supplements.

Police say Freitas, on a number of occasions, removed the Universal Product Code (UPC) labels from items then swapped them out with less expensive items. His thefts trace back as far as November 2016.

Diebold Nixdorf debuts world’s smallest self-checkout at National Retail Federation’s BIG show

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Imagine heading to your favorite supermarket and having the store know not only that you’re coming in, but what you plan to buy. Then as you walk through the aisles putting items in your cart, you’re also scanning them with your phone, which keeps a running tally of how much you’re spending as you go.

When you’re ready to check out, you bypass the lines at the registers and head straight to the self-checkout terminal, where you pay for your purchases with cash or a credit card swipe, and walk out.

That’s the kind of scenario that Diebold Nixdorf, the Summit County-based ATM and bank security company, envisions as it unveils what it calls “the world’s smallest self-checkout concept” at the National Retail Federation’s NRF BIG Show in New York on Jan. 15-17.

Diebold Nixdorf’s latest innovation lets customers withdraw cash or pay for their purchases at a kiosk that’s less than 10-inches wide, or the length of one and a half dollar bills. The kiosks take up a fraction of the floor-space of current ATMs and self-checkout registers and combines those abilities within a single unit that can fit almost anywhere, the company said.