I’ve been noticing quite a few empty storefronts in my area, some of which is natural turnover and some is because businesses aren’t getting enough foot traffic to stay open. And while that may change as we get into better weather and people are out and about which often inspires people to take a go at running a physical store, retail definitely has challenges to overcome. It hasn’t adapted to the change of how people are shopping and all too often retail store owners see it as an us vs. them thing when it comes to retail and online shopping. One of the ways that retail can take back some of the ground it has lost, or even be more successful than it was in the past is by taking advantage of the online world. And while that’s a post for another day, I wanted to talk today about one of the other things that could be the key to whether a store stays open or closes down, and that’s leadership.
I was talking with a couple of employees at a company the other day and they were very honest about the fact that they’re staying where they are only because of the paycheck and if something better came along the would be very happy to leave. I think there’s room in the business world for all of us business owners, but I don’t believe that every business owner deserves a business. Some people aren’t equipped to lead or don’t have the right attitude to lead.
What does the dictionary say about leaders anyway? A leaders is “a person who guides or directs a group; an act or instance of leading; a guiding or directing head; a person who inspires others.” I believe true leadership takes skill, experience, passion, action and attitude. Sometimes you can get away with not having one aspect or another, but to really be able to claim the leadership title I think you need to be well rounded in all these areas.
So if you’ve got employees who are willing to stick around as long as the checks don’t bounce, maybe it’s time to take another look at your leadership. Are you showing up? Are you getting the work that only you can do done? Are you inspiring them to be a better person and make a contribution to the company? Are you recognizing their hard work? Do you take their concerns seriously? How do you talk to and treat them? If you’re not feeling so confident on some of these questions, your employees may not feel so confident in you, and that can easily trickle down to the customers as well.
What is one thing you’re going to do in the coming week to be a better leader?