Retail Operations - Effective Branch Manager Support & Guidance

Written by Anthony Dance

As a customer how often have you experienced poor service from people obviously unsuitable for a retail environment? As a retail executive, how often have you observed poor performance or unsatisfactory behaviour within your own network of branches? If so, you have probably wondered why branch managers tolerate under-performance or poor behaviour? Anthony Dance has been supporting retail managers in performance management issues for over ten years and believes bothrepparttar problem andrepparttar 135931 remedy is at area management level. Anthony explains:

Performance and behaviour management is by farrepparttar 135932 most difficult aspect of any manager’s job andrepparttar 135933 reluctance to ‘grasprepparttar 135934 nettle’ when performance or behaviour issues emerge is certainly a concern in many organisations. But atrepparttar 135935 end ofrepparttar 135936 day that is what managers are paid to do and not doing so will certainly affect service, team morale, sales and ultimatelyrepparttar 135937 bottom line.

Why does this reluctance exist, why do so many mangers back away from confrontation? The problems and challenges that need to be overcome are many andrepparttar 135938 common reasons and ‘excuses’ for not doing so are as follows:

It is Risky – There is a worry inrepparttar 135939 back ofrepparttar 135940 manager’s mind that discussions could turn into heated arguments and that they may open themselves up for harassment or bullying accusations. There is also a concern that team moral and motivation may be damaged by tackling an under-performer and thatrepparttar 135941 team may even turn againstrepparttar 135942 manager.

It is Complicated and Difficult– Performance and behaviour management is not straight forward, it is very seldom clear cut or black and white. It is ‘grey area’ stuff and often involves opinions, perceptions and subjectivity. As managers feel they cannot quantify and then justify their concerns clearly enough they do not attempt to do so.

It is Hard Work and Time Consuming – Many managers feel they do not haverepparttar 135943 time to sort out under-performers and that it is low onrepparttar 135944 priority list. “It is not worthrepparttar 135945 hassle” is a common comment to be heard.

Denial – Many managers are either blind torepparttar 135946 fact that a person is under-performing or behaving unacceptably or they do not see it is a serious enough issue to address. There are even managers who believe that it is not their job to tackle performance and behaviour issues and that some day, someone will come along and do it for them.

Many ofrepparttar 135947 aforementioned points tend to be excuses rather than reasons but there are a number of more important points that need to be taken into consideration:

Lack of Training – No new manager has any previous experience of performance and behaviour issues when they move into a manager role forrepparttar 135948 first time. New managers often inherit performance or behaviour issues fromrepparttar 135949 previous manager and yet are not given relevant training for tackling these issues fromrepparttar 135950 onset. Giving managers basic employment law training andrepparttar 135951 company procedures to read is notrepparttar 135952 ‘practical’ training they need and is certainly insufficient on its own. All managers need a thorough grounding inrepparttar 135953 use ofrepparttar 135954 performance management tools and practice in their use. Job specs, probationary periods, reviews, counselling sessions, appraisals andrepparttar 135955 disciplinary procedures are all useful performance and behaviour tools when used correctly and atrepparttar 135956 right time. Yet this vital training is not made on someone’s appointment, often it is made later in their careers when much damage has been done.

Courage and Confidence – Doing something risky, difficult and complicated requires both courage and confidence. Unfortunately many branch managers lack both. Even if managers are givenrepparttar 135957 knowledge and skill to tackle performance or behaviour issues, they will not do so without these essential qualities.

The problems and challenges are undoubtedly great and many may seerepparttar 135958 issue as un-resolvable however there is someone available to branch managers who can help them overcome many ofrepparttar 135959 problems and challenges and that someone is their bossrepparttar 135960 Area Manager.

Guidance, Coaching and Support The area manger isrepparttar 135961 only person who can guide, coach and support branch managers inrepparttar 135962 addressing of performance or behaviour issues. They can un-complicaterepparttar 135963 issues and help managers build a strong case for presenting to an employee. The area manager can also helprepparttar 135964 manager minimiserepparttar 135965 risk of harassment or bullying claims by ensuringrepparttar 135966 correct procedures are being used and thatrepparttar 135967 managers sayrepparttar 135968 right things inrepparttar 135969 correct way.

More importantly a good area manager will ‘encourage’ and giverepparttar 135970 manager much needed confidence. The area manager isrepparttar 135971 only one who can do this but unfortunately in many instances this is not happening and by not doing so area managers are unconsciously (or consciously) influencing a reluctance to tackle performance or behaviour issues within their branches.

Why is this happening?

Asking for support and guidance – Many branch managers are certainly reluctant to approach their area manager when they experience performance or behaviour issues withinrepparttar 135972 team. Ifrepparttar 135973 matter falls intorepparttar 135974 gross misconduct category then managers will contactrepparttar 135975 area manager (and HR function) inrepparttar 135976 first instance. But for ‘grey area’ performance or behaviour matters they tend to keeprepparttar 135977 issues to themselves. The reasons for this are as follows:

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

Written by Dr. Jason Armstrong and Dana Buchman

Copyright 2005 by Dr. Jason Armstrong and Dana Buchman

“Conflict” is a word that can have varying degrees of severity, meaning, and implication for each individual or circumstance. For example,repparttar conflict that is experienced in our current, daily lives seems insignificant in comparison torepparttar 135907 Samurai, or those in war, who faced death on a regular basis. However, it is still important to extrapolaterepparttar 135908 significant lessons that have been derived from such severe scenarios, as these notions are still applicable inrepparttar 135909 conflict that we experience inrepparttar 135910 workplace and life today.

Conflict is unavoidable, as each individual has unique and differing thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Therefore, it is important to learn ways to minimize and manage this difficulty, in order to ensure efficient and harmonious interactions. This article providesrepparttar 135911 genesis of a personal path, introducing tools and ways to minimize and manage conflict, while pointing torepparttar 135912 origin of these concepts. After an overview of these modern and ancient approaches, a discussion will follow on applying successful tools and techniques for managing conflict. These ideas can be used to help clearrepparttar 135913 mind for better decision-making, and consequently, ensure a personal pathway to success.

New approaches to ancient concepts Profound strategies and lessons to minimize and manage conflict have been around for thousands of years in forms such asrepparttar 135914 classic Chinese textsrepparttar 135915 “Book of Change – Tao de Ching” andrepparttar 135916 “Art of War”. Today, modern legends including Stephen Covey (“7 Habits for Highly Effective People”) and Dale Carnegie present similar corporate and personal tools. As many knowrepparttar 135917 “7 Habits” is not a group of new concepts, but age-old approaches to success and conflict management, represented in a way that can be clearly applied to modern day personal and corporate development.

Discoveringrepparttar 135918 origin & foundation of concepts Although many ofrepparttar 135919 true ancient concepts have been exaggerated or misused through incorrect interpretations, they can be applied in non-extreme forms relevant to repparttar 135920 modern day from such arts as: Zen (which is not a religion, but a path for self discovery and growth),repparttar 135921 “Art of War” by Sun Tzu (the classic text on strategy which is often regarded asrepparttar 135922 most definitive text onrepparttar 135923 topic), andrepparttar 135924 Tao de Ching (the “book of change”). These all provide profound lessons for leadership, change, success, peace of mind and conflict management.

A workplace example – an tense group meeting debating a topic If one has to enter a meeting with a number of staff peers on a topic that is likely to require an intense debate, a strategy can be put into place to help provide a successful outcome (this should be combined withrepparttar 135925 other approaches outlined below). For example, one can approachrepparttar 135926 members ofrepparttar 135927 meeting individually prior torepparttar 135928 meeting to convey your preferred position. Oncerepparttar 135929 meeting has started you will hopefully already have likely confrontational people already “on-side” to achieve your desired outcome in a non-confrontational way.

The Key to Managing Conflict: bringing it all together, and applying it today Allrepparttar 135930 above methods (old and new) are about changing core behavior and approaches, in order to avoid conflict and simultaneously achieve personal success.

As Sun Tzu states:

“If you know yourself and know others – you will be successful. If you know others and not yourself, you will win one and lose one. If you do not know others and do not know yourself, you are destined for failure in every battle.”

These are core values, and far more important than putting band-aids on problems, or approaching things with simply a short-term change. In regard torepparttar 135931 ancient philosophies, they of course must be interpreted, and applied, using case studies and real world examples in a context that matchesrepparttar 135932 modern corporate world. Applied Zen ( is a company that provides workshops, and downloadable videos online, regarding these exact topics with a unique approach. This is achieved through implementation of physical interaction drills to reinforcerepparttar 135933 concepts covered in workshop presentations. Studies have shown that learning conflict management based on physical as well as mental practice greatly increases repparttar 135934 participants’ retention, and consequently, aids in implementation (more than 2 to 3 fold improvement).

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