The most effective leaders may have vastly differing styles; they may also work in vastly different organisations yet their personal brand of leadership will almost always be well aligned to the needs of the organisation in which they work. It is through self-reflection that leaders review and evaluate the impacts of their approaches to leadership.
Review and revise team objectives and delegation
As retail leaders, the rich diversity in teams can be a significant resource. The varied demographics of individuals combined with the differing ideas, methods, motivations, and competencies they bring can deepen organisational capability. For the inexperienced leader there are however some inherent challenges. Identifying, recruiting, and developing professionals from a diverse blend of backgrounds, cultures, styles, and motivations require empathy and equity. To embrace the benefits brought through diversity it is important to establish certain guidelines from which to lead and support teams. Guidelines may include:
- Each individual is entitled to their cultural heritage
- Team norms are developed based upon what’s best for the achievement of organisational goals rather than the preferences of the dominant majority
- Actions and behaviours require understanding rather than judgement
- Opportunities are created for each individual to grow and make a valuable contribution
It is valuable for leaders to reflect on their behaviour over time to evaluate whether they subconsciously favour particular individuals or demographic factors. Most often leaders find that they have a predisposition to favouring the team members most like themselves and this may be deeply ingrained. To develop beyond this bias, leaders can adopt a strategy of reflection and work on alternatives with a trusted mentor.
Of specific consideration is how team objectives and opportunities for delegation are managed across the diversity of the organisation. Establishing methods of communication, consultation and feedback that allow for the contribution and involvement of all staff enriches the quality of response providing the opportunity to improve approaches to delegation and the development of team objectives in ways previously unconsidered.
Retain comprehensive people management records
One of the most important elements of ongoing leadership success is the retention of comprehensive people management records. Larger retailers generally have human resource information systems (HRIS) that store relevant information about staff required by legislation and leaders may be required to contribute to this. For leaders to truly support their teams in ongoing development and to allow for reflection upon the business outcomes of personal leadership style it is valuable for leaders to retain their own records of individuals and team performance and development. Documents and information to retain may include:
- Recruitment collateral: position descriptions, job specifications etc.
- Interview templates
- Selection procedures and decisions
- Onboarding and induction schedules
- Probation reviews
- Individual development plans
- Delegation authorities
- Annual team objectives
- Performance appraisals
- Feedback received and given
- Self reflection and personal performance reviews
Leaders are only as effective as they allow their teams to be. Ensuring the focus is always upon facilitating the achievement of business goals through the teams and individuals of the store; department or brand supports both personal and professional growth for both leaders and their staff.
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