Being a Retail Leader: Living Up to the Change You Want to See

Sara Eliis-Jack By Sara Eliis-Jack | 07 Feb 2019

Developing yourself as a leader at work or your community is about deliberate self-improvement every single day. It’s bringing your best self forward, aligning with your team, and working above and beyond the goals that your organisation is set towards.

Here’s where this famous saying rings true more than ever – that for you to create the change you want to see, you have to change yourself first. As a leader in retail, you need to be an early adapter to current innovations for your company to evolve with the changing retail landscape.

You might be at a loss on where to start, what books to read, or which professional development courses to take. Here’s a springboard where you can take a leap from thinking about your role as a leader to how you can apply the necessary skills in the battlefield.

Continual Professional Development

Whatever role you have in a company, you’ve got to assess your skills and see where you can improve.

But let’s say you might not have the time to take professional development courses or go back to school. You can follow a tip from Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. You don’t have to do it all, but you can focus more on what truly matters.

Practice your intuition as to which is the best path forward, given the time and resources that you have. Focus on those books, courses or techniques that will help you in the short-term and also move you forward to long-term goals. Block out a good amount of time each day as your “power hour” when you can focus on personal growth and elevating yourself.

You will inevitably lift others as you rise above your circumstances.

Being Present in Your Work

Being mindfully present is actually practical on how you’ll approach everything at work.

Take for example planning out every single thing throughout your schedule. You might encounter other crucial matters along the way. You don’t have to be rigid in following “the plan.” Adjust your schedule as to what arises in the present. If you narrowly followed a plan, you might miss other incredible opportunities that were handed to you at that moment. You’ve got to stay open to endless possibilities given to you at any time and make the decision to follow the best path forward.

Your Team Fulfills the Dream

What makes a startup or company successful are the teams behind them. No person can do it all alone. There’s a need to focus on the team as a whole – on how everyone can complement each other’s roles and capabilities.

There’s a discussion on successful team dynamics and development in the Retail Learning Channel which talks about how you can bring out the best in your team. Studies have shown that groups with psychological safety, find meaning in their work, and foster positive relationships create more success for a company.

As a leader, your heart and soul is your team. Let yourself grow with your them. As written in Jack and Suzy Welch’s book The Real Life MBA, alignment happens when “people are rewarded for embracing the mission and furthering its success with their behaviours.”

Working Towards the Vision

There’s power in how you can imagine things in the future. What’s your vision for your company? Guy Kawasaki’s TEDx talk on The Art of Innovation emphasizes that you have to make meaning in your company. This will create a strong foundation for every venture. Your company’s “meaning” can change the world. Solidify your meaning and money will inevitably follow.

Global brands and internationally-acclaimed companies started out with a vision that they relentlessly worked on for years. So never forget your vision. Your plans and actions might need to change along the way, or your vision needs to be refined. At the end of it all, the meaning of your company will propel your team to keep pushing forward no matter what.

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