Three Surefire Tips to Becoming a Better Manager
Seasoned store manager Jim R. got more results when he took time to connect with and empower his associates.
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Jim R., manager of Store 1930 in Plaistow, N.H., says he wasn’t always good with people. Learning to be a good manager took time and face-to-face interaction with his associates. “The important thing,” he says, “is to make time to connect in some way with your associates and acknowledge their personal needs as much as you acknowledge what we ask of them each and every day.”

Here are his top tips for improving as a manager and connecting with your team:

 

SHARE YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES AS A PART OF GIVING FEEDBACK.

“I have made and continue to make mistakes every day. Sharing those setbacks with associates creates an awareness that it’s OK to make mistakes. I use these examples to help inspire them through times when they may have made an error in judgment or even when they have made an awesome decision that worked out very well. When giving feedback, I find that sharing experiences sometimes helps in accepting feedback and gives our associates something to relate to.”

 

FOCUS ON AREAS WHERE THERE’S BEEN A HISTORY OF DISCONNECT.

“When I first reported to my store, I had the luxury of knowing which areas had the perception that they never get any attention. Going in, I committed to reversing that mindset by making sure I acknowledged and continue to acknowledge as many associates in those areas as possible on a daily basis. True or false, it was a mindset, and as a leader you need to react and work to change the mindset.

This made me think about areas that in the past I may have overlooked in other stores, and one of the areas I personally came up with was the front end. Cashier is one of the most difficult jobs in our stores in the sense that they are glued to that register their entire shift and seldom have the chance to come and see me, so I put my best foot forward to go see them.”

J I M  S A I D . . .

Admit when you’re wrong! There are times when you unfortunately ‘fell asleep at the wheel,’ and it happens, but you need to admit it when it happens and move forward from there."

Empower your team to address opportunities.

“Admit when you’re wrong! There are times when you unfortunately ‘fell asleep at the wheel,’ and it happens, but you need to admit it when it happens and move forward from there.

The best thing you can do to minimize this, in my opinion, is empower your associates to find the answers to their questions or concerns. There are lots of concerns, for example, about merchandise and system glitches. Nearly every single associate with these concerns has the option to bubble up themselves, but leadership continues to commit to ‘looking into it.’ But in the course of the busy day, it gets lost in the shuffle.

I show them how to submit their own tickets and get the response on their own. They want to troubleshoot their areas as much as they can, and we need to give them all of the options we can. ‘Teach and train to ease the strain.’ The more they know, the more we all grow.”

 

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