Three tips on how to be a great floor leader this holiday

macys floor

“Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.” – Tom Landry

I learned so much from the first manager I worked for. Maybe that’s because he was always teaching. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

One thing he emphasized was the importance of floor leadership during the holidays. He used to say that no team makes it to the Super Bowl with a mediocre quarterback. To win the big games, you need a big game quarterback. (No Deflategate comments, please.)

The same is true throughout the holidays. The difference between a good and a great holiday season may well be determined by how well a store’s “quarterbacks” lead on the floor. Here are three things I learned from my manager about being a great floor leader during the holidays.

1. Lead in the moment. 
If you’re the floor leader, that’s what you do. Lead the team. No merchandising. No paperwork. Just focus on your team and drive results. If you think you need to get other things accomplished when you’re the floor leader, you’re not actually leading the floor. If you absolutely have to be off the floor, make sure you’ve assigned another person to be the floor leader.
2. Stay calm. 
As a young manager I had a tendency to get worked up if the POS went down, or a delivery showed up when the store was packed and we were understaffed. (Why does that always happen?)

One day after I freaked out over something my manager asked me, “How did that help the situation?” Of course, I didn’t have an answer. He’d then ask, “How did it hurt you?” I admitted that it probably got everyone else upset and made a difficult situation even harder. He said, “Yep,” and walked away. Lesson learned.

3. Add value. 
Your staff should benefit from your leadership. As a result of your leadership on the floor they should sell more and deliver a better experience. You don’t do that by just ringing sales or even worse, taking over someone’s sale.

You do it with proactive coaching, silent sales assistance, and doing whatever it takes to help your staff be more successful. Be sure you’re giving the staff feedback that adds value to the employee and customer purchase experience. Let the little things that annoy you go.  They rarely add value.

So let me ask, are you ready to be the best possible floor leader this holiday? I wish you the best of luck this weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers. To our newsletter readers around the world, have a great week.

Here’s how to use this article as a leadership development tool.
First, have your entire management team read this article. Next, ask each member of management to identify two things they do well as floor leaders, and two things they will focus on to be a better floor leader/quarterback this holiday. You might even post the answers in the office for the leaders to see throughout the holiday.

Article by Doug Fleener

Doug Fleener is a veteran retailer with over 25years of hands-on retail experience with world-class retailers including Bose Corporation and The Sharper Image. He has also owned and operated his own specialty stores.  In his ten years at Bose, Doug grew the Retail Direct Group from four to 100 stores and was instrumental in developing Bose’s unique and engaging retail methods. Under Doug’s leadership, the Bose retail stores became one of the pre-eminent specialty retailers in consumer electronics, known for their highly customer focused approach and multi-media Bose Music Theater Show.  Doug is a consultant, keynote speaker and the author of numerous articles. Doug is also the author of the book The Profitable Retailer. He has been quoted in Entrepreneur magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Shopping Centers Today, and numerous other newspapers and magazines.  Find out more at Dynamic Experiences Group

Find great articles on managing your business by Doug Fleener and other industry veterans in our Learn/On Managing section.

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