I was 22 when I was promoted to manager of a jewellery store. Wet behind the ears. Most of my staff were in their late 30's to late 50's. I was a kid to them.
Looking back, I can understand why I was greeted with such resentment, heck I knew why back then. I didn’t blame them.
At first I tried to hide my obvious lack of experience. I had fought for this position, I deserved this position, I told myself. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed to earn the staffs trust.
A few failed attemps of hiding my fear with an over compensating ego made things pretty real.
It was time to be honest and ask them what they needed from me and ask them for help.
We had a staff meeting that was a heart to heart. We shared each others persepective.
We formed a team with honesty and a committment to each other that we would work together. They helped define my role. Yes I needed to manage the store as per the corporate guidelines. But I was more than that. I needed to avocate for them too.
I needed to Trust them and they needed to be able to trust me.
That meeting was a game changer for us. You see, 4 months after my promotion, the companies partners announced the corporation was being split between them. Many Stores were being liqidated and deconstucted. I was posted to this store to turn it around , due to a history of poor sales and a climate of high turnover.
Our team turned the store around 180 degrees.
Each month that our store was scheduled to close we out sold most of our sister stores.
The owners of the company would call and ask « Phillip, what are you doing? we can't justify closing your store. »
These calls became monthly. Our team was strong, we worked well together. The store stayed open for 2 years after the proposed closing date.
Leadership is about people not position.