Not everybody who works in retail necessarily wants to progress into management. Obviously, career advancement and management in particular, might mean better pay but with that comes an increase in responsibility too which doesn’t suit everybody. However, if you want to progress into retail management, there are certain things you should be looking to achieve on top of having any necessary qualifications which you might also need to possess.
Speak Regularly with Your Boss
It’s certainly true that if you demonstrate good working practices at work, you may be identified as a potential future manager but you do need to speak up for yourself too and let your boss know about your career aspirations. Discuss your goals with your boss in any regular one-to-ones you have with them and take on board any advice they may give you with regards to how you might achieve them more quickly. Ask them if you can take on more responsibility. Your boss may not want to overwork you but if you feel you could be contributing much more, tell them so and ask if there’s any additional work that you could be doing.
Perhaps, you could also ask them if there are any opportunities to increase your skills and experience by doing additional work within another department. Remember the more skills and exposure you get in other aspects of the retail business, the more value you’re going to present to the company. Therefore, if they feel you’re valuable, this will lead to greater career development.
Take the Opportunity to Fine Tune Your People Skills
Retail is a sector in which people can go a long way if they have effective communication skills and are able to relate well to people. Therefore, practice your people skills whenever you can. Become a good listener and take on tasks such as making business presentations, for example. Seize any opportunity you may get to lead a group of people – perhaps, if your boss is going on holiday you could offer to step in, for example and learn how to relate well with you’re your colleagues and management. Networking at conferences is also something you should learn how to be good at – ‘shrinking violets’ have no place in retail management.
Be Creative and Proactive with Your Ideas
Many people wrongly assume that you need to be a ‘yes man’ all the time if you want to climb up the greasy pole into retail management. That’s not the case. Retail companies don’t simply want sheep or ‘followers’ as managers, they want people who are creative and innovative and not afraid to suggest different ways of doing things. So, look out for ways you can improve things and don’t be afraid to put these ideas to your boss as it will make him or her look good too.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can help somebody go a long way inside a company and this may not always be your boss. Perhaps, you will have a boss who’s supportive and who will mention your accomplishments and achievements in all the right places and who will be there to offer you advice. However, you may also find you have a boss who sees you as a threat to their own job. Therefore, it’s important you find yourself a mentor who has spotted your potential and will be there to support and guide you and will keep you abreast of possible openings which will help with your career development.
Sell Yourself But Keep Learning
Nobody likes a bighead who’s constantly droning on about what they’ve achieved but there is certainly no harm in quietly pointing to your accomplishments at the right time and to the right people who are in a position of power. After all, they may not be aware of what you’ve achieved so a subtle mention in the right ‘ears’ at an appropriate time is perfectly acceptable. However, it’s also important to keep your feet on the ground and to keep learning. Stay on top of trends that are affecting your industry and ensure that you learn any new skills that might be needed as a result.
Protect Your Reputation
To progress within retail management, it’s also important that you not only build your reputation but that you protect it too. Therefore, make sure that you’re always dependable, co-operative and professional in all you are asked to do.