Updated: Jan 11
Being a retail Manager at anytime of the year can be challenging, but at Christmas everything you do is under the microscope.
Senior Management are constantly pressuring you to perform, HR are driving you nuts with correctly on-boarding temp staff and Visual Merchandising are sending you into a frenzy with their ideal brand demands - even though your stock capacity is now 20% more than usual.
To top it all off, you are constantly reviewing the latest pandemic measures - perspex screens or not? Social distance or not? Fitting rooms open or not? Masks or not? Staff self isolating or not? Agency cover needed or not?
PHEW! There is alot to contend with in retail management and YOU need to be given the gift of...headspace, enjoyment and dare I say it Christmas cheer!
My first memories of working in retail at Christmas I was 16 years old and the shop was busy every single day. The Christmas songs would be blasting out and there was a certain vibrancy in how the team talked to each other, coordinating customer needs with hand gestures to each other across the salesfloors - it's almost like we were telepathic and the retail Managers always kept a cool, calm composure. It captivated me and I was inspired! Suddenly, I find myself 20 years on witnessing the same kind of magic (at some brands) but sadly, for the masses, retail in Christmas is hard bloody work, long(er) hours and no-one is supporting or lifting you up.
I see you and I get it, I really do. It sucks.
So if, like me, you became the accidental retailer who now loves the industry but dread this season, let me take you through my 6 secrets of success so that you can truly enjoy working in retail throughout this Christmas any beyond
1. Get comfortable with saying no
That's right. The corporate team are hounding you morning, noon and night, the area support teams are on your case daily, the store team are chewing your ears off.
Enough is enough - especially now.
Remember in your CV and Interview when you wrote 'handles pressure really well' well, let's just say we can throw that in the trash! The tipping point has arrived and you need to let off steam, right?!
Now is the time for you to prioritise who and what needs your time.
I'll say it again WHO and WHAT needs your time?
You have 168 hours in a week, ok?
With everyone demanding 20% extra from you - at all angles - something has to give.
Learn how to say no...and stick to it.
I promise you in doing so, you'll be able to focus on the things that really matter - for the greater good of the customers, team and you!
2. Thank You becomes your best friend
To get joy, you first must give
The secret to living, is giving!
I bet you already say thank you to your team at the end of a hard week or when they have done an awesome job of processing that massive delivery in super fast time.
But now, more than ever, saying thank you little and often will go a lot farther.
Several times a day if you can.
Serving the retail team with your thanks will come back to you tenfold, start today
3. Look after your health/energy
I have seen it happen so often where boxes of chocolates take over the staff room, sugary doughnuts and the odd advent calendar or ten.
Now, I'm not a grinch, I love all the good stuff - but there comes a point when you're 20 days into munching through the latest box of goodies kindly brought in by someone in the team (maybe even a customer) and you start to feel all headachy, dehydrated and mood swinging all over the flippin' place!
Do yourself a favour, always have water to hand and add in bowls of wintry fruits to the staffroom - some blueberries, cranberries and kiwis. If you wanted to go further, small tubs of mixed nuts and ready made healthy smoothies.
Trust me, your brain (& gut) will thank you for it!
Yes, this is a major secret to a successful Christmas in retail. Loading up on Redbull and chocolates plays havoc with your body...act with caution dear retail friend.
4. Choose your attitude
And ask your team to do the same.
By choosing how we approach each day with either a positive outlook or a downtrodden, defeated mindset impacts everything you say and everything you do.
Get into store, look around at everything you have built, think of how proud you were when you first got that job. Switch into that vibe again and choose your attitude - even when the days are long, even when the days are tough
5. Accept that some customers are assholes - but you will never be!
Ok, so the customer is always right? WRONG! But...they are still the customer, and we must always remember that. Remember, they are the ones that pay your wages.
When you've been called over the cash-desk for the millionth time before lunch to see a disgruntled customer, you know, deep in your stomach it is not good! But you are going to greet that customer with so much of your radiance and sunshine that you are going to melt that customers frosty front! That's right, head-up, eye contact, huge smile.
You want to help them
You want to serve them
You want them to feel heard and valued
Believe me, fighting fire with fire ain't getting anyone anywhere.
Take the lead, show up with confidence and you'll both reach a good place quickly.
6. Gratitude. Thankful for the job you have
'Tis the season to be jolly. Right? Take some moments each day to appreciate all you have. Remember, you have a job, a chance to climb the career ladder, a chance to help others learn and grow. I think when we become acutely aware of all we have, life gets better for you and everyone around you.
Take these 6 secrets of a successful Christmas in retail and share them with your team. Write down your own measures and your own thoughts.
Post them somewhere you can see them - then practise every single day, together if you can!
Being a Retail Manager during Christmas can be a thankless task, especially if you have unmotivated or poor leadership - but don't let that deter you! This doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy the season and smash all of your retail sales goals.
This Christmas season is yours to own, go after it!
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