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Leadership in Retail? It Starts with YOU (Yes, For Real)

You’re an ambitious Manager craving to make more of an impact within your store or company, but something’s holding you back. How can you showcase your leadership in retail if you’re the first one to doubt your skills and confidence?

Before you can impress others, you must believe in yourself. Mindset matters.

You’ve probably already heard that “leaders aren’t born: they’re made,” haven’t you? Well, I’d like to add something.

You can make yourself a leader. A confident one, too.

Yep, it’s all in your hands (and head).

And, while it can be tough and uncomfortable, your hard work and self-development will certainly pay off for your career.

What makes a great retail leader?

A great retail leader masters both people management and task direction while creating a united and motivated team where everyone works towards the same goal.

And what sets an actual retail leader apart from mediocre managers?

The former leads by example, is intentional and authentic, and creates an exciting vision for their entire team. They’re not just there to tick lists and delegate!

Essential skills for leadership in retail

  • Confidence

  • Resilience

  • Adaptability

  • Authenticity

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Leadership judgement

  • Communication

  • Ability to motivate and influence

  • Empathy

  • Kindness

While they’re all important, NONE of them will actually come across if you’re lacking the very first one: confidence.

And that’s exactly why you’re here, right?

Because, even though you know that you’re destined for more and can bring actual positive change within your company (and beyond), you’re struggling to show up in a way that conveys it.

Let’s fix it!

Leadership in retail 101: how to build confidence as a leader in retail in 9 steps

Since you’ve made it that far within your company and industry, I bet you already have all the right competencies (virtual high five, woo hoo!).

Now, the tricky part: showing it.

Not only that. Empowering others and making actual change while positioning yourself as an inspiring leader in retail.

Take a deep breath, and get ready to build your confidence one step at a time.

1. Start with self-development books

The more you know about a subject, the less scary it feels. So, if you want to become a confident leader in retail but don’t know where to begin, you can start… well, right there!

Read books, learn what other leaders do (and what they would never do), and embrace their positive habits or even their routines.

Here are just some of the books that will help you feel more confident and establish your leadership in retail:

2. Network with other retail leaders

This is an extremely valuable step towards leadership in retail both in the online world and your day-to-day reality.

As for the former, LinkedIn will be your best friend (or shall we say ‘connection’?). Follow and connect with other professionals in your same role or, even better, those who’re already where you’d like to be within a few years.

In real life, you can achieve this by approaching other store or area managers within your company or meeting external ones at relevant events.

Overall, this will result in a trusted support network of like-minded managers and retail leaders.

Not only will you obtain valuable tips and stay motivated: you’ll also realise that most of them have had (or still have) your same worries and insecurities… but they show up anyway.

3. Develop or improve your personal brand

Be authentic, and let your unique personality shine whenever you interact with others, whether they’re your superiors, team members, or customers.

Honestly, personal branding in retail is a must to stand out! And, while CVs are still essential, your personal brand is what can help you set yourself apart from other candidates or even get promoted faster.

A fruitful way of growing and promoting it is by engaging and posting on your social media (once again, LinkedIn in particular) about industry-related topics. Share your ideas and unique angles, write articles, and consider taking this further by having a personal website or blog.

4. Work on what’s specifically holding you back