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Your Store Support and DC Leaders Need Leadership Development, Too

When we’re partnering with clients on their strategic learning initiatives, the work typically initiates with the retail field organization, store leaders, and, most frequently, the multi-unit leaders — those district and regional managers who lead through others and from a distance, managing several retail store leaders and teams.

After successful implementations and behavior changes start happening that drive improved performance results at the store level, the next step is replicating that common language and skill set with the store support and distribution center leaders.

The reality is, in terms of leadership development, this is often the most under-supported group in retail.

A national research study we conducted with a variety of retailers showed that many support supervisors in DCs and/or home offices receive technical and functional training and higher-level outside certifications that help them in their positions. There’s much less attention, however, being placed on the critical “soft skills” — like interpersonal communication, coaching, and collaboration — that they need to be effective leaders.

Our research confirmed that store support center and distribution center leaders have triple roles, and it can be challenging to juggle all three competently. These leaders are typically:

  • Doing: They have work they are responsible for completing in their department;
  • Leading: They oversee a team of associates who are contributing to the department’s goals and initiatives; and
  • Influencing: In addition to the people they directly supervise, they rely on the field organization and others in the store support center to get the job done.

They need technical skills and expertise to navigate their responsibilities, but that’s not enough to be successful in their roles. It takes an entirely different set of skills to coach, engage, and motivate a team. It requires different strategies and heightened emotional intelligence to collaborate with others effectively and build commitment around a shared vision, even when you have no direct supervisory authority over them.

This month we’re taking a closer look at the challenges and opportunities today’s retail support leaders are juggling. On the blog, we’ve highlighted some of the specific skills you need to be prioritizing as part of your learning and development strategies so you can help them navigate their roles more successfully while also creating the kind of positive work environment that attracts and retains great talent.

Mary Beth Garcia, CEO

P.S. Our Store Support Leadership (SSL) program is designed for support leaders across the retail spectrum, including distribution center, supply chain, buyers, planners, accounts payable, tax audit, merchandising, tax audit, category management, advertising, web and IT support, legal, and others. Get in touch to learn more about it and how it can address your business needs.

Read the full article here!
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Shift Your Multiunit Leaders from Reacting to Driving Sustainable Results

Retail Multiunit Leadership (RML)

Virtual sessions begin Sept 12

  • Learn how and when to flex leadership roles
  • Develop the interpersonal skills and strategies to plan, communicate and motivate sales teams and conduct store visits
  • Build an engaged, resilient workforce

Five half-day sessions held weekly, through Tuesday, October 10

$975 per participant

Includes DiSC® assessment and 90-day post-training microlearning

National Retail Research on Support Leadership

We surveyed VPs, directors, buyers, DC managers, AP supervisors, tax and audit managers, and many other retail support leaders in a range of formats—from specialty and luxury to discount and outlet—to understand their challenges and how they handle the interpersonal situations they face on a daily basis. Six major themes emerged from our data.

Download the Report
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