Consistency and avoiding Whac-A-Mole
An important attribute of a leader is consistency. Without it, employees are left to wonder what is and isn't acceptable. This also takes focus and energy away from the customer.
I once worked for an extremely inconsistent manager, and it was maddening. The rules and expectations seemed to change by the hour. I felt like I was playing the human version of Whac-A-Mole. It was an exhausting place to work.
I believe her inconsistency stemmed from two factors. First, she was often overwhelmed, and so she didn't always address issues when they happened. This resulted in the employee interpreting her action (or non-action) as acceptance of the employee's behaviors.
Second, she believed that "being easy" on people made for a more enjoyable work place. In fact, the opposite is true. For example, she didn't seem to care if we didn't send out thank you cards as we were supposed to, until a month later she read us the riot act in a staff meeting for not doing so.
Most of us, truth be told, can be more consistent. Some areas in which I see this play out as I travel around the country are customer engagement or reengagement, selling, clienteling, try and/or add-ons, thank you cards, suggesting additional items, and personal conversations while customers are in the store. What about you?
Knowing where you're inconsistent is half the battle. The other is changing some of your own behaviors and actions. Here are three tips to do just that:
1. Praise people for doing the right things. Recognize when people are meeting or exceeding the standards without being prompted.
2. Immediately address the issue when someone is falling short of the standard. When you let things "slide" they will continue to slide. Help your team out by not being too busy to say something.
3. Focus your conversation more on expected behaviors. Instead of constantly pointing out what people are doing wrong, remind them of how to do it right. This makes for a more enjoyable workplace, and people know what is exactly expected of them.
So let me ask, how consistent are you and your team? I would encourage you to identify some specific areas where you can be more consistent, and then each day this week focus on one area and apply the three tips to improving your consistency.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Doug Fleener Doug Fleener, the former director of retail for Bose Corporation, is president and managing partner of Dynamic Experiences Group LLC, a proven retail and customer experience firm that works with progressive retailers and other customer-focused companies. www