This Is Why Retailers Need To Have Tons Of Grit

Anyone who thinks working in retail is easy hasn’t worked in retail at all (or for long)!! Long hours on your feet, stock to put away and tidy, shelves to clean, reports to be filled out. Oh and then there are those lovely customers to serve, always on their phones, ignoring us or worse, checking prices at other stores!!

There’s a lot of pressure on store managers to make a budget and achieve their KPI’s. With high rents putting the pressure on making challenging budgets and so much more competition, it’s a tough gig to take on and be successful.

What makes a successful retail leader? It’s having tons of grit and resilience. There’s a great TED talk about grit by psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, where she explains her theory on how grit is a great predictor of success. She describes grit as passion and perseverance for long-term goals, where success is based on having stamina. Certainly necessary in retail that’s for sure. Click this link to check it out.

As well as possessing grit, great retail leaders need to also possess resilience. They need to have the resilience to face the day to day challenges put to them and be successful. I thought it also could be useful to share some key points about resilience from Elizabeth Boyd of Excellence in Retail, which she explained in a recent blog as well as provide my thoughts:

Important resilient traits of successful retail leaders include:

  • They understand that adversity doesn’t define them: Resilient retail leaders understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the current state-of-mind they are in while overcoming an obstacle. Their personality may be slightly altered as they are working through their challenge but they would never allow “stressed” or “chaotic” to define their professional identity. I always talk about this during training sessions, it’s challenging being a leader because you can’t have a bad moment. Your team always look to you to set the tone and the pace. It’s the ability to take a hit, not react badly to it, and get through it.

  • They Keep Great Company: Emotionally resilient retail leaders seek out and align themselves with other resilient colleagues. Positive people generally attract positive people and the reverse is also true. Great leaders surround themselves with positive people who make the team very strong.

  • They Are Accepting That Challenges/Disappointment Occur: Resilient leaders – and even highly-cohesive teams – understand that challenges, impediments, and bad things happen. Teams that practice emotional resilience can support each other and band together to get past the challenge and then celebrate their win. There’s always going to be challenges, particularly in retail, it’s how the leader reacts to these challenges that will make the difference. They also use these challenges as great learning points.

  • They Consider The Possibilities: They do this by looking at the disappointment/challenge from different perspectives and soliciting points-of-view from their team and colleagues. Great leaders who practice resilience don’t work inside a silo. They involve their team in the solutions to team challenges. They have created a strong team whose opinions they value and they know they will get different points of view that they may not have thought of by involving their team. This gets much better buy-in as well as continues to motivate their team.

I hope the above thoughts and TED talk helps you to continually work on the skills of being a great leader. It’s an ongoing challenge to lead successfully but well worth the effort.

Thanks to Elizabeth Boyd and Angela Lee Duckworth for their insights.

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.