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The number one question that I get asked by leaders of teams in the retail industry is how do I pull out the potential of my people? It’s one of those big things that seems to elude a lot of leaders. So in this week’s blog, I’m going to talk about some easy tips about how to do that, how to start the process of getting the most out of your people, getting the potential out of your people.

                           So let’s talk about how we pull the potential out of your people.

So the first way to actually start getting that potential out of your people is to Give Them A Little Bit Of Stretch.

So when we say stretch, a lot of the time leaders actually think that they need to make sure that person is 100% able to do whatever we’re giving them. Whatever task that we’re actually giving to them and delegating to them, we need to know that they can 100% do it. Here’s the reality. You will never be 100% sure! What we’re looking for is to be about 70% or 80% confident that they can do it. Because if I’m 100% sure someone can do something, there is no stretch in it for them, because if I’m 100% sure I would have seen them do it on another occasion. So it’s really important that we’re looking for that stretch and small stretches.

So what a lot of times seems to happen is we either give them really big stretches or no stretch at all. When we’re giving our team a stretch, we’re actually activating a different part in their brain that takes them out of autopilot. You know that brain function we step into when we’re getting in the car and we put our seatbelt on and then we go, “Have I actually done that?” That autopilot. So we’re giving people stretch. Now we need to make sure that when we’re giving them that stretch, they know why they’re giving that stretch. So a lot of leaders wait until they’re taking holidays. Here’s the thing. If I’m only going to give someone a stretch when I’m going on leave, I’m actually devaluing them. I’m saying the only time I can give you stretch is when I’m not here.

                           The second thing is Space.

Give them space to be able to have the stretch. So what am I made by that? I mean, we need to step away. So one of the tips I used to use is I used to have something else planned for me to do. So if I was giving one of my team a stretch and I felt myself wanting to hover and wanting to really cramp their stall and look over their shoulder, I would plan something else for me to do to take me away. Whether it at the back, whether it was serving customers to give them a little bit of space. Our team can’t stretch their wings if we are hovering over them. So we need to actually step back a little bit.

So it’s like when we’re teaching a kid to ride a bike, at some point you have to let go of the bike. So to let go, we need to give them a little bit of space. So, when I’m giving them some stretch, I need to make sure I’m giving them some space as well.

Another great way to start getting that potential out of your people and creating that initiative is to Have A Little Fun.

Retail is not meant to be this sad, drab business. We talk all the time about having fun with our customers and we never have fun with our teams. So have some fun. Get your team where they’re laughing and really enjoying the whole experience of being in the workplace. Because here’s the thing, when I stopped to relax and I have a little bit of fun, I’m also a lot more comfortable to take in some information. So I might be willing to try something new because it’s not so serious that if I fail, then the whole world is going to explode. So think of some fun ways to add a little bit of fun into your workplace.

Dress up days, having competitions with your team, having fun competitions. A lot of businesses, they just do sales competitions. Think about other little fun things that you can do to have a laugh and a joke. But here’s the thing, you have to lead the fun. You can’t say, okay, we’re going to do a competition and you guys go, we have to lead the behaviour. Because what our team have learned is you can’t have fun at work. You can’t have fun at work. No, it’s not a place for any of that. So they’ve actually learned that behaviour. So they need to see us, not just hear us say it, they need to see us do it so that they know it’s okay and they won’t get in trouble if they have a laugh and a joke. And here’s the thing, it’s a twofold because when your team are having fun, not only they serving your customers better, but your customers feel the vibe of the store, that there is some fun there and that makes them want to come back as well. If there is no fun in your business, there generally will be a drop off for your customers in your business as well because people don’t want to be in really drab environments.

                           The fourth thing that I want to talk about today is Praise.

Now you’ve probably heard this, and I talk about it a lot to give praise to your team, but when we’re talking about potential, we need to give praise for progress. So it’s really important that we’re giving praise for the progress made, not just 100%. A lot of leaders wait till someone gets at a 100% perfect and then they give them praise. And this is actually detrimental because of what it teaches your team is, if I don’t make 100% then I’m not good enough. And over time, this actually create a culture in your business where people don’t want to try new things because anything less than a 100% is failure. Now we know as leaders that we have to be trying new things. So it’s really, really important that we praise someone.

So if they’ve done 60%, we’re praising them for that. If they’ve got 70% of the way, we’re praising them for that and we’re also reminding them where they’ve come from. So remember six months ago when you wouldn’t have even tried that at all. So even when they fail, remind them of the growth that they’ve had. A lot of times we’re so focused on what’s next, we forget to have a look back and go, “All right, how far have I actually come?” As their leader that’s your role to actually help them look at the growth they’ve already had to help give them confidence for what’s next. And we do that through praise. We do that through going, isn’t it great how far you’ve come? Isn’t it great that you’ve grown? And then we get them ready for the next step.

So if we’re not giving stretch, giving praise, creating space, and having fun, we will not have a culture that is ready to stretch and to have potential and to actually use initiative. And all leaders of all teams want the team to take initiative. So if you can start putting a little sprinkle of these things into every day with your team, over time you will actually create a team that takes initiative, that dream team, that everyone’s dreams about, that actually comes to them and says, “Hey, I’ve actually got an idea for this”. I’ve already done this and this is the result that it got.

So, try it out with your team. Give them some stretch, give them some space, add some fun and praise. So try it out. And I’d love to hear how that works in your business. So please feel free to reach out to me and let me know what successes that you have creating a team and pulling out their potential and creating a team full of initiative.

If you would like support to improve the effectiveness your team check out our 2Hr or Full Day Team Initiative Workshops where we help you and your team understand AND be able to get the most out of your time! Book your session here

Flying Colours Leadership, helping you successfully maximise you and your team’s time today, tomorrow and for the future. Wishing you an amazing retail day.


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