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Holiday survival tips for managers and supervisors

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Stressed out and stretched thin is usually how many managers and supervisors of retail service feel when holiday shoppers descend on the shops during the holidays. Whether you are a seasonal supervisor or a year-round manager the business success of the season depends greatly on your ability to avoid a few common pitfalls.{{more}}

• Choose seasonal workers carefully: Everyone with a resume and a nice suit is not a good worker. If hiring for a customer service position with heavy customer interaction, choose experienced personnel or candidates who are enthusiastic and really ready to learn quickly.

• Coordinate schedules: Minimize schedule conflicts by making sure everyone understands their holiday hours and always have a few back-up personnel available in the event you are short staffed for a shift.

• Conduct training: Invest the time upfront to have quick informal training sessions so new workers understand the procedures and become familiar with their position to avoid costly mistakes

• Do not blow your top: This may be difficult but try to avoid yelling, insulting or public displaying your anger when dealing with workers and especially customers.

• Be a motivator: Hold quick five to 10 minute meetings (depending on the size of staff) to motivate and get them energized. Employees really want someone who believes in their abilities and can positively move them to produce exceptional work, especially in high-pressured situations like the holidays. Give compliments throughout the day.

• Lead by example: If you want your employees to smile and be courteous with customers then as the manager you need to smile and be courteous with your employees first. Your employees should be your #1 customers.

• Give clear concise directions: Errors often occur when employees are unsure of the request being made. Encourage them to ask questions if they are not clear.

• Focus on the solution not the problem: Errors will occur when everyone is rushed. This is not the time to play the blame game. Address the problem, and then find the solution quickly.

• LISTEN: Your frontline staff really is the genius in your organization. Listen to opinions; take seriously suggestions to improve work flow and processes.

Sir John Harvey-Jones puts it best: “It is the responsibility of the leadership and the management to give opportunities and put demands on people, which enable them to grow as human beings in the work environment.”

This applies especially during the holiday season.

• Karen Hinds is an international author, speaker and consultant and president of Karen Hinds Seminars. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected]