I have neglected my blog the past few weeks, mainly due to the overwhelming amount of work and/or activities that have been going on in my life…most of which have been good things. With that said, it is time to get back to doing something that I find enjoyable: writing.
I have recently started my summer internship at Belk of Conway and it has been quite the experience already. I have made a few observations that I would like to share that may put some things into perspective for my readers and reinforce some things that most may already know.
1. Big box retail stores are complex organizations. As a consumer, when you walk into your local retail store, it is easy to take for granted the amount of time and organization that it takes for you to leave with the items you seek (I’m guilty of this). As an associate, it is easy for you to blame the shortcomings of your place of employment on upper level management (I’m guilty of this). As a member of management, it is very easy to blame other members of management or corporate for the various mishaps of the store. Pushing blame up the chain of command is a horrible habit to get into. I was an associate once and I did not understand a lot of what management did. I still do not fully understand every decision made, but I understand a lot more now. I understand that my managers have a lot riding on the store’s performance. I understand that they are human. I understand that they work harder than I gave them credit for just a few weeks ago. The amount of time and energy your managers put into their work behind the scenes can be staggering. Think about how the store would be without them all before you point fingers. They have bosses too and have demands placed on them just as you do.
2. People want to be pushed and developed. In my particular store we have excellent people. We have excellent associates, operation team members, excellent managers, custodians, etc. We have people in each department that have the knowledge to run their own department. With that said, they want to be led and they want to be developed. One of the problems our store is having is the fact that some associates will do nothing all day if you let them, but if you give them a to-do list, they will get it all done quickly and correctly. Why won’t they take the initiative to do it without the list? They want to be led. This goes against Delegation: The Covey Way in many aspects that I so strongly believe in. Give the associates a to do list and they will get it done, don’t give them one, and most won’t earn their pay for the day.
3. Giving credit where credit is due is key when managing people. I have had the opportunity to sit in during a few management meetings and a few corporate walk-thrus. These are generally led by the store manager, an up-and-coming leader in the company. I am amazed at how often he gives credit to those that make the store perform the way it does. I have heard him name various associates and assistant managers that are making the store better. Rarely, and I do mean rarely, do I hear him say, “I did this” or “I did that”. On the other hand, my store manager has a very solid understanding that he is the captain of our ship. He fully understands that he is responsible for any short comings the store may experience. I have heard him admit that he is at fault for tasks not getting done that he is not directly responsible for. True leaders make sure things get done, give credit where it is due, and take the fault for anything that falls short of the target. Period.
I am excited to go on with the internship. This is by far an eye-opening experience for me in several aspects and I will leave the program a better person and a better leader.
Thanks for reading!