After facilitating training courses to thousands of retail leaders over the past 25+ years and spending a lot of time in stores, one of the biggest weaknesses I have witnessed is their lack of ability to provide effective feedback. A number of leaders are very hesitant to provide feedback, thinking it will end up in an argument, so they just avoid it altogether.
The number one reason why leaders struggle with feedback is that most have never been shown how to handle feedback. It’s a natural skill only a few possess, and very few people receive training on just how to provide effective feedback. Many try and copy the way they were given feedback by a current or previous boss and when this doesn’t work, they either try some other way or just give up.
Another reason is a lot of store managers get promoted because they are great at customer service and sales, so we think they will make a great leader. It’s a whole different skill set leading a team compared to solely managing yourself. Just because you were the best salesperson, it doesn’t mean your team will simply follow your lead.
Feedback needs to be given at the moment, ideally as soon as the right or wrong behaviour has been witnessed. This is another issue in that leaders are either too busy and don’t notice when their team members do something wrong or right, or too busy to provide the feedback right then.
When feedback is provided too long after the issue, it is often wasted since the team member can’t remember what actually happened.
As most leaders struggle with providing feedback, due to time or they don’t know what to say or they expect the staff member to get defensive, any feedback has to counter these issues. You can’t ignore when a team member is not doing something correctly; otherwise, you are virtually saying it’s OK to not perform at the correct level of expectation.
No one likes being criticised, so to create a positive outcome feedback has to be constructive and encouraging as well as avoiding blaming language. And it needs to be delivered on the job in between customers, so the feedback needs to be concise and to the point. Dealing in facts is the best way to achieve this.
Following these tips will counter the issues identified above and help your team to be amazing.
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.