Retail Operations - Effective Branch Manager Support & Guidance

Written by Anthony Dance

Continued from page 1

Many branch managers feel: The area manager may see it as a trivial matter and not important enough to bring to their attention. That seeking advice and guidance will be seen in a negative way byrepparttar area manager. The area manager will go into fault finding mode rather than helping find solutions. The area manager may start questioningrepparttar 135931 branch manager’s ability to dorepparttar 135932 job.

Many managers have inrepparttar 135933 past gone to their area mangers for advice and support on team performance issues but received such a negative, unhelpful reply that many were put off from ever doing so again, even when they changed to a different area manager.

There is also a feeling that area managers themselves do not know what to do either. “Bring me solutions not problems” is a common comment heard by branch managers when they have taken a ‘people’ issue to their area manager.

Offering support and guidance It is a fact that very few area managers actively encourage branch managers to talk about their ‘people’ issues or are prepared to probe belowrepparttar 135934 surface to identify possible performance or behaviour problems that may be affectingrepparttar 135935 business. There are many examples where area managers have placed managers in ‘problem’ branches without preparing them forrepparttar 135936 issues they will face or helped or supported them once they have taken uprepparttar 135937 position. Basically they throw them torepparttar 135938 wolves and then leave them to get on with it.

Another common issue is whenrepparttar 135939 assistant manager ofrepparttar 135940 branch is turned down forrepparttar 135941 manager position. Very few area managers are competent in explaining why an individual was not appointed and give excuses rather than valid reasons. This results inrepparttar 135942 new manager having to experience considerable hostility and resentment from not only their deputy but from many ofrepparttar 135943 team also.

Why do many area managers not offer support or guidance or dig belowrepparttar 135944 surface looking for performance issues? There are a number of reasons for this.

Unconscious Competence There is a saying that

“Good Management will result in good people staying and not-so-good people either improving or leaving. Where as Bad Management will result in good people leaving and not-so-good people staying and possibly getting even worse”.

During their time as branch managers, many area managers did not experience risky, difficult or complicated people issues. If they did, they often resolved them unconsciously. They just acted as good managers should, which resulted inrepparttar 135945 issues being resolved quickly. Ask any manager who is competent in performance or behaviour management “how do you do it or what do you do?” and you will probably receive a shrug ofrepparttar 135946 shoulders and a comment like “I don’t know specifically, I just do it” (Unconscious Competence)

Unconscious competence is not acceptable at area management level as a key requirement ofrepparttar 135947 job is to coach and train branch managers in performance management. Area managers can only fulfil this critical function if they know exactly what is to be done and how to do it. (Conscious competence)

Conscious Incompetence Unfortunately there are area managers in existence who ‘know’ they are not personally competent in dealing with performance and behaviour issues and will go to great lengths not to expose this weakness to others. (Conscious incompetence) These area managers tend to encourage branch managers to not make waves, maintainingrepparttar 135948 status quo and to tolerate rather than develop. They certainly do not dig belowrepparttar 135949 surface in a branch seeking ‘people’ issues that may be affectingrepparttar 135950 business.

One ofrepparttar 135951 most disappointing comments I heard from a seasoned area manager when asked why he was not supporting his managers was “I am not allowed to get involved as I amrepparttar 135952 next step ofrepparttar 135953 appeal process”.

A good measure of an area manager’s competence is to look atrepparttar 135954 performance and behaviour ofrepparttar 135955 area manager’s branch manager team. It is pretty certain that if they cannot coach and encourage branch mangers inrepparttar 135956 tackling of performance and behaviour issues then you can be sure they themselves are not tackling branch manager performance or behaviour issues.

Possible Solutions If a retail organisation needs to tackle performance or behaviour issues at branch levels, I believe they need to developrepparttar 135957 skills and competence of performance management at area management level first as area managers alone haverepparttar 135958 authority and arerepparttar 135959 biggest influence on branch manager effectiveness.

Unconscious competent area managers need to become consciously competent so they can not only develop others but also develop themselves further. Conscious incompetent area managers need to admit that they are not effective in performance or behaviour management and be prepared to learn and developrepparttar 135960 necessary skills. If they are not prepared to do so then they themselves need to be performance managed byrepparttar 135961 company. After all, Executives cannot demand that branch managers tackle performance and behaviour issues one moment and then not do so themselves when they need to. That isn’t leading by example.

Anthony Dance is managing director of outlook management development, a retail performance management and management development organisation. He is also an accomplished speaker on performance management issues and has over 15 years first hand experience of senior operational management roles. Anthony can be contacted through his web site

Managing Conflict, in Life & Work: using ancient and modern approaches

Written by Dr. Jason Armstrong and Dana Buchman

Continued from page 1
Aggressive escalation of conflict Conflict is derived from many circumstances, but quite regularly it can be escalated because of a person’s approach torepparttar situation. Inrepparttar 135907 Japanese language, there are two words that help to describe this: aiki and kiai. These words are derived fromrepparttar 135908 same two characters, and are simply reversed to convey an opposite meaning. Kiai is a form of showing intensity and channelling it towards an individual, and inrepparttar 135909 martial arts ‘kiai’ is a very loud, expulsion of air and voice to intimidate or scare an opponent. Aiki isrepparttar 135910 opposite of head-to-head approaches and allows one to avoid escalating conflict (hencerepparttar 135911 martial art “Aiki-do”). Yetrepparttar 135912 approach still incorporates assertiveness a key attribute in any successful negotiation. Consider for a moment which concept would be most beneficial in dealing with conflict in a meeting at work or your personal life: kiai, or aiki? “Show softness yet engagerepparttar 135913 opponent with hardness. Show weakness yet engage with fluid strength” Obviously aiki is more practical, and will produce a more desired outcome. If we listen withrepparttar 135914 intent to understand - not to respond, if we get all our thoughts together before we confront another person, we can strategically work with someone to maintain our own balance and not produce antagonism inrepparttar 135915 person with whom we are dealing. “Reaching a centered state, so I can perform at my best” Having an open mind, and a relaxed physical and mental state will ensure I have an approach which is non-confrontational and provide a first step to maganging or avoiding conflict. An approach of aligning your thoughts and actions, and taking a moment to breathe and release tension, will create a more relaxed state within yourself as well asrepparttar 135916 person you are dealing with. This approach will enable you to convey your points in a way that your opponent will be unable to avoid or refuse. Settling oneself creates a calm and open mind: you are able to listen, think, and respond (in this order), and this is positively received by others. If you are able to settle yourself at any point (i.e. before, during, or after you feel aggression arising), others will respond to your calm, open mind, and it will put them intorepparttar 135917 same relaxed state. In various physical artsrepparttar 135918 importance of relaxed upper body, a low center of gravity and appropriate breathing creates this state. Zen and other conflict relevant arts have such Japanese terms such as “mushin”, “mizu no kokoro” and using repparttar 135919 “hara” (stomach area) for creating and optimal physical state for mental performance. Conflict within oneself – perhapsrepparttar 135920 most important conflict to understand Lessons such as “trying to defend/attack too many areas at once leavesrepparttar 135921 troops divided and weak” from Sun Tzu can be translated to an individual. Just as Stephen Covey asks, “How thin can you spread yourself before you are no longer there?”. Applying such lessons to your life today can have a profound impact on personal conflict – don’t take on more than you can handle, or you will begin to sacrificerepparttar 135922 very essence of who you are. Although it is not direct conflict between two people, it is still relevant. If you have conflict within yourself, you are destined to have conflict with others. You will understand that conflict is not merelyrepparttar 135923 apparent external problems – it also involves each individual and his/her conflicts within.

Sharpenrepparttar 135924 sword… This article provides and introduction to some ofrepparttar 135925 methods and principles used in Applied Zen corporate training ( Businesses and individuals everywhere are using these philosophies to manage conflict more effectively and to achieve success. Therefore, it is essential to train one’s skills & endure ongoing development. Asrepparttar 135926 ancient Samurai saying states, “Continuously sharpenrepparttar 135927 sword, or it will go blunt!”

Definition of Conflict, Merriam/Webster Dictionary: 1 : FIGHT, BATTLE, WAR 2 a : competitive or opposing action of incompatibles : antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons) b : mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands 3 :repparttar 135928 opposition of persons or forces that gives rise torepparttar 135929 dramatic action in a drama or fiction

Copyright 2005 by Dr. Jason Armstrong and Dana Buchman

Jason Armstrong, Ph.D., has worked at CEO levels in Japan, the USA, & Australia. He has also consulted for large multi-national companies in Japan and has specialized in the "Art of War" for more than 20 years. He has worked in both Venture Capital and Biotech Industries. Today he runs , which conducts workshops in the USA Australia and Japan.

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