How you become a good manager in retail

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As a manager in retail, you often have many challenges

Managers in retail play an important role in the company’s overall success. They often have to juggle staffing, sales, customer satisfaction and stock, and simultaneously act as a bridge between head office and the shop. The shop staff can many times include unexperienced, part time or seasonally employed coworkers, and the managers often have to handle different delivery problems. This is tough.

To be a good manager in retail, you often have to master the following: 

  • Planning and managing your time
  • Recruiting and leading staff
  • Building good and motivated sales and service teams
  • Managing and accepting change
Here are four tips on how you, by working with these areas, can become a good manager in retail: 

How to manage your time

Tight budgets, staff shortage, a huge flow of information. It is not difficult to find things to do, as a manager in retail.

Those who are good at managing their time, will often: 

  • Know when to prioritize solving a problem immediately, when to postpone it, and when to delegate it to someone else
  • Remove different time wasters, i.e. things that waste your time without contributing
  • Be good at handling different types of interruptions at work
  • Say ‘no’ to unreasonable demands

How to lead your staff

Good managers in retail encourage their staff to high self-management. This is a must, since the manager cannot always be present. 

There are different ways to promote self-management, and here are a few: 

  • Talk about and work with different behaviors that help the team reaching their targets
  • Work with the team so that you praise and encourage behaviors that you want to see more of
  • Set and follow up targets for behavior (what we say and do) and performance (the result of our actions)
  • Create an open environment where it is OK to make mistakes, and where you share information with each other
  • Be coaching in your leadership, and feel successful yourself when others succeed 

Work with the team

To succeed as a manager in retail, you have to be able to trust that the staff work and solve problems on their own.

Good managers continuously work on:

  • Delegating responsibility
  • Setting and following up group targets
  • Adjusting the staff and their roles so that they can learn from each other and work together
  • Making sure to get the right resources that fit into the team, not just regarding skills but also personalities
  • Encouraging the team to work together and support each other, also during stressful times
  • Using individual differences and valuing diversity

Accept and manage change

Being able to quickly adjust and adopt to new trends and needs drives success in retail. Styles change. Customers’ needs and requirements develop. Competitors develop to take market shares. Being a manager in retail requires managing change, e.g. through:

  • Predicting changes
  • Searching for solutions on different problems together with your team
  • Working to increase innovation
  • Reducing resistance to change

Those who become good managers in retail learn how to go from just focusing on daily activities, to continuously working with and developing their leadership.

How do others in retail work on developing teams and leaders?

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