How to Support Your Team – So They Can Support You

You unlock the door and walk into your store early in the morning.

It is all so peaceful.

After a nice day off, you are looking forward to digging into your action items.

Your mind is humming with the list of things you are going to get done before the store opens.

Walking to your office, you pick up an item off the floor. “This is so cute,” you think to yourself as you walk over to the shelf to put it back.

Then you notice that the shelf really needs to be dusted. “Drat, how did that not get done on Tuesday?” you mumble out loud.

As you pass the front desk, you see the garbage overflowing. “What? This should have been done last night!”

You bend over to empty it out and notice that the small bags are almost out. “Who the heck closed last night? They should have put more out!”

Now, you are starting to get mad.

As you go to the back room, you see that the orders from yesterday hadn’t been packed up. And you know that they didn’t have a super busy day.

And there is garbage by the back door that hadn’t gotten walked out to the dumpster.

By now, you are so flipping frustrated and furious that you want to just fire them all!

But before you do… Stop! And Breathe.

There are only 3 reasons why your team members don’t perform

  • They don’t know what to do
  • They don’t know how to do it
  • They do know, but don’t care

That is all there is to it.

Don’t make assumptions and jump to number 3.

Most people don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “I cannot wait to make my boss mad today. What can I do – I mean NOT do – that will ruin their day? I really am looking forward to not doing my job!”

To be sure we all make [hiring mistakes – hyperlink to 5 Steps to Hiring Well] sometimes and run into someone who genuinely doesn’t care.

But the first 2 reasons are much more common.

They don’t know what to do

It is YOUR job to set your team members up for success.

Start by clearly defining and WRITING out your expectations. They cannot read your mind. What seems obvious to you might not be obvious to them. If it is written down there is no compromise – either they have done the job or not.

They don’t know how to do it

After you have written down what to do, now you must write down HOW and WHEN the job should be done. This is the most common mistake.

You cannot be too detailed here. It is YOUR job to take responsibility for their success.

Let’s use the example of the garbage not being taken out in my store. Don’t just write down “Take out the garbage.”

A more clear way to say it is: “Every Night: Take the garbage bag out of the front desk garbage can. Empty out the garbage cans in the bathroom and the back office into this bag. Dispose of it all into the dumpster behind the store.”

Now when I had done that and the garbage still didn’t get taken out, I asked the team member who had closed the store the night before why it hadn’t been done. (I didn’t scream or yell, even though I wanted to!)

Turns out that she had heard some weird noises around the dumpster and the light was out. She was scared – it wasn’t that she didn’t care.

The bottom line is that if things aren’t being done the way you want them to be done, you have to be willing to take responsibility for your part in that.

As always, when you point your finger at someone else, three fingers point back at you. Be ready and willing to do everything that is necessary to help your team to achieve success.

Support them, so they can support you.

2 Comments on “How to Support Your Team – So They Can Support You”

  1. After reading This is SO YOU. I will like to say that the person who wrote this has NEVER owned or has been in upper management in their life.
    I run 4 companies and If I had to write out in such detail what a 18 to 30 year old should know BEFORE they have a job I would be Bankrupt. The Schools and Parents have no idea what is coming out into the work force. They cannot think, they cannot remember more than 1 thing. They are 45% efficient. And know nothing and have been sheltered by their parents. Why do not not put the blame on the Workers, the Parents and the School system. I would love for the person who wrote this to send 2 to 3 Days seeing how bad the work force really is.
    That is if you want to make a profit. If you want to spend all of your profit hand holding the 18 to 30 year olds you will never make any money. In our survey of these people their top thing is they need to be told they did a good job every day.
    Really. I tell them to get a Dog. The Dog will give them all of the love they need.
    80% efficient each and every day is a good job. 45% is coming in last. And based on every child getting a trophy for last place this is why they are 45% efficient and want to be told they did a good job. Sorry. When you are 45% efficient and assist in making the company money to pay you, then we might consider hiring a person who just goes around and tells everyone they did a great job, when in fact the company is failing.
    This person should really work in hard core retail next to a CEO and see what we go through each day with these 45%ers.

  2. Hi WIlliam, Thank you for sharing your perspective. I hear your frustration loud and clear! I chose a different approach that allowed me to build great success in my multi-million dollar 3 store chain. It worked well for me and the thousands of independent retailers I work with. But it’s not for everyone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *