Why aren’t retail managers managing?

Over the last 18 years I have visited hundreds of retail establishments to assess operations and develop       solutions with the end result of either reducing expenses or increasing sales.

There are many “common threads” that I have discovered over my consulting years in dealing with the store teams; stores never have enough labor, internal shrink is almost always higher than expected, turnover is extreme most always topping 100%. The most disappointing “common thread” for me personally, as a former Store Manager, is the lack of management time shown by the average Store Manager. I really don’t understand it. The days of performing the “store walk” are few and far between. Tasking is making a strong run at surpassing management time when measured in week in the life surveys. If I had a dollar for every time I witnessed a Store Manager stocking in the aisles or running a register, I would be a very wealthy individual.


So, my next logical step in analyzing this uncomfortable “common thread” is to ask myself why. Why do so many of today’s retail Store Managers fail to manage their people? After many hours contemplating this question on air flights to and from my client’s location, I have come up with some potential reasons:

  • Store Managers feel that no one can perform the task as well as they can
  • Store Managers are not comfortable delegating to others
  • Store Managers have not been properly trained on the soft skills of management
  • Store Managers are not scheduling their people properly
  • Store Managers have not cross trained their people to perform different tasks
  • Store Managers feel more productive when they are tasking versus managing

I’m sure there are many more reasons why today’s managers are not managing more and tasking less. The compelling question is… What can be done to get the Store Managers to manage more and task less?


The tSCG solution for Manager Effectiveness focuses on answering 3 key questions:

  1. How does the Store Manager spend their time?
  2. What are the reasons why the Store Manager is not managing?
  3. What needs to be done to optimize a Store Manager’s effectiveness?


Since the Store Manager is the “eyes and ears” of corporate profitability, it is paramount that the executives of retail organizations place a top priority on providing their Store Managers with all of the necessary tools to manage effectively and profitably.