Thursday, September 10, 2009

Delegate, Empower & Collaborate

Develop the skills of your staff. That's necessary so you can work on your business, not just in your business. And in carrying out staff development, distinguish delegation, empowerment, and collaboration.
     Delegation. People like to own a portion of a task, seeing it through and tracking the results. When you slice off part of a task to be done--such as setting up the end caps--and hand it to an employee, you're granting authority, responsibility, and accountability. The output might not be as high quality as if you'd done it yourself, so keep an eye on the progress and do coaching when indicated. But resist any urge to swoop in to take back the whole task yourself. If things get really bad and the impact on your business might be dire, trim down what you're asking the employee to do. But leave at least a few important portions so you allow the employee to come out of it feeling a sense of positive accomplishment.
     Empowerment. Give employees latitude in how they respond to customer complaints. Remind them that customers are always more important than store policies. If your employees do go beyond what the store policies say, they must let their supervisor know so the issue can be discussed. Another element in empowerment is making clear that some employees will be granted more latitude than others, but that your objective is to give progressively greater empowerment as employees demonstrate progressively greater wisdom.
     Collaboration. When grooming employees to take over for you, you'll delegate and empower. But with the strategic decisions, it's best to collaborate. Have the employees fully participate with you in identifying the problems, generating and evaluating the alternatives, and setting up the action plan. That way, both you and your collaborating colleagues get better.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

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