Last But Not Least...

What do store managers think about store managers?


Over the last few weeks, we have been exploring the most important core competencies and attributes a store manager should possess. In January, the running industry wanted to explore what this means by creating a session at the first-ever Run Congress. This session was titled: Deal Breakers - Attributes Needed for Store Managers Success and Setting Expectations. What does it mean for the owner, what does it look like for brands, and what do managers think? This week, we will look at the manager's view and what they believe to be the most important attributes and competencies for their position. The top 6 core competencies were as follows in order of importance.


  1. Leadership: Organizing and influencing people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction.
  2. Time and Priority Management: Prioritizing and completing tasks to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
  3. Employee Development/Coaching: Facilitating, supporting, and contributing to the professional growth of others.
  4. Appreciating Others: Identifying with and caring about others.
  5. Problem Solving: Defining, analyzing, and diagnosing key components of a problem to formulate a solution.
  6. Personal Accountability: Being answerable for personal actions.


We often hear from managers that their boss won’t let them do their job. Again, it is a trust issue but what is the responsibility of a retail store manager? It is also challenging because, in general, most owners of run specialty stores are very driven and value efficiency and results, but store managers tolerate conflict and value security.  


For example, let’s look at time management. This was not on the owner's list of core competencies, but it is #2 on the store managers' list. Managers didn’t feel they were good at time management and wanted more training, so they could understand how to prioritize time to be more efficient and create results. This is something that generally comes naturally for owners, so in most cases, it’s assumed that no skills need to be developed.


So how would a manager build the skills needed for time and priority management to build the trust it takes to do their job? It starts with an assessment of the skill. Where is there a gap? And then a conversation with the owner on the specifics. Start with how the owner prioritizes a day. What are the areas that are urgent to an owner vs what can go on the next day? On another note, present a situation or all the things that happen in a day that create uncertainty and have your owner list how they would assess the activity and make priorities from there. As you do this, listen and take notes. Formulate if-then questions as a follow-up to be efficient. Avoid any urge to bring up “Yeah, but…” phrases.


As we have seen over the past month, the retail store manager’s role is critical. Brands, store owners, and managers all have different views of what the core competencies “should” be. The result is unmet expectations which lead to mistrust. At the run congress, the takeaway was, to start with having the conversation regardless of the perceived difficulty.


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