6 Leadership Trends That Are Critical to Focus On

Leadership is a passion of mine and I’m always on the lookout for ideas that help us all to improve in this critical area. We have a lot of young new talent coming into the workforce and we need to up our game as leaders to ensure we create an environment that gets the best out of them as well as all of our team members.

I came across some interesting trends that have been identified by members of the Forbes Coaching Council that I thought was well worth sharing and added in my own comments. All retailers are crying out for great leaders to step up and make their mark. Here are six trends that I believe all retailers should be aware of:

  • Encourage all team members to be brand ambassadors. Every employee is an opportunity to provide insights into the culture, quality, and standards of the organisation. By leveraging social media, every employee can become an ambassador and it’s effectively free PR, but more powerful because it’s authentic and believable. To do this effectively, it is critical that retailers provide a working environment that team members find motivating and engaging. For a team member to promote the company they work for they have to feel valued and trust their leader.
  • Invest in human capital development. By taking a vested interest in helping employees thrive in all areas of their lives (not just work), creates more engagement, productivity and happier employees. This is critical if you want Step 1 to happen. Leaders have to spend the time finding out how they can motivate each individual team member. Help them achieve what they aspire to be, either at work or outside of work, then you can achieve this.
  • Increase emphasis on empathetic leadership. Value-driven millennials will continue to leave command and control cultures for collaborative workplaces. The ability to understand, relate to and be sensitive to employees, colleagues, and communities will be paramount. So many younger team members join companies because their beliefs match their own. You can reinforce this by placing a greater emphasis on listening, relating and coaching.
  • Lead by actions and examples. With so much light being shed on unacceptable behaviour in all workplaces, leaders must understand they need to not only hold their team accountable but also themselves. Such a key point in today’s world where trust is at an all-time low. Building trust with your team starts with being a great role model and doing what you say you will do.
  • Turn your organisation into a truly customer-centric business. Being customer “focussed” has been around for some time, however with robust customer feedback mechanisms and reporting, there is no excuse for not adapting to what customers want today. Customers are no longer loyal to brands they’re loyal to experiences that work for them. With so much competition now, retailers that adapt to the customer’s ever-changing needs and can provide consistently great experiences in the store will continue to thrive.
  • Promote continuous education. As the business landscape persistently grows in competitive intensity, every organizational member must be smarter. Therefore, continuous learning will be at the forefront of management’s agenda to gain and sustain a competitive advantage. Learning will not be confined to formal training performed within the business. Learning will extend to a growing number of online micro-learning platforms. Millennials are crying out to learn more and companies have to provide the opportunity for them. Technology is a game changer here, with so many more options available to reduce the time away and the cost of training. Retailers have to embrace this, as well as continuing to provide ongoing training so store managers can be the best leaders they can be.

I hope these six tips are helpful, as I said, we all need to continually review and ask – am I the best leader I can be?

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.