A solid loss prevention program involves the use of shrink control best practices, the utilization of the right technology and the ability to develop good relationships. It also requires the ability to operate with an open mind, a willingness to create change and the ability to develop a successful team concept. Here are five concepts to building a successful team (at any level).
As important as any piece of technology or new initiative within your loss prevention program, leadership is at the crux of getting results. Developing your team’s knowledge and understanding the overall vision and goals, while challenging them to grow, will build a strong and effective team.
To improve programs and/or results (shrink, sales, performance), we must develop the management team’s knowledge and understanding. As leaders, we must continue to reinforce team building and developmental sessions that help increase the loss prevention and business knowledge of the team. The most successful leader is one who builds a team of leaders; building relationships, earning trust and maximizing the strengths of their team to reach company goals.
The first concept and perhaps the most important in leadership is trust. With it we are successful, without it we are bound to fail. Building trust begins with creating an environment in which everyone expects to tell the truth in a direct and constructive manner. Encouraging candor in others and following actions consistent with words will demonstrate accountability and credibility. When mistakes occur, encourage admission to and learning from those mistakes. Trusting your team, even when they make mistakes, allows them to take chances, believe in their abilities and your ability to guide them. Your team having trust in you as a leader will allow them to know they can make mistakes, take risks and go beyond their potential. Above all else, a leader must demonstrate integrity, confidentiality and sincerity to gain the trust of all team members.
Being accountable for our actions is an important trait to have as a leader and also helps to build trust. We certainly would like everyone on our team to be accountable as well. Ensuring each team member is responsible for his or her performance and honestly assesses that performance is an essential factor in successfully building a strong team. Our teams should understand their strengths and developmental opportunities and solicit performance feedback. Feedback is a great tool in developing your team. For example, recognizing a member of management in front of his peers for providing great shortage data is an excellent way to boost morale.
Having a talented, diverse team is always a key to success. Talent is exhibited in many different ways, but it should be exhibited foremost by leadership. Leading by example is a key concept to managing the talent on your team. Including leadership development topics in daily conversation will encourage and inspire management team members to work harder on the development of their district and store teams.
A team’s execution of the company’s vision/procedures is very important to its overall success. Managing time is critical to a successful team. Each team member should value and use his/her time and the time of others effectively and efficiently. Setting strong objectives, action plans and goals will also aid in ensuring that the team is on track to be the best. Track the team’s progress towards an end result. Maybe it’s hitting a sales plan or shrink goal for the month or year. Communicate the progress and, most importantly, the results.
Relationships become partnerships when we build solid foundations with our mentors, peers, and subordinates. Evaluate your team in the area of how well they maximize relationships within your organization. Be approachable, considerate and show respect toward people throughout all levels of the organization. When we treat people the way we want to be treated our relationships and partnerships strengthen. Listen to what your team has to say and take action when appropriate. Always follow-up to ensure your team knows that what they have to say is important. Sometimes actions speak louder than words.
There are many ways to build a successful team. Focusing on these five areas will not only strengthen your relationships with team members, but may also increase productivity. Whether it be shortage statistics, internal theft cases, or sales numbers it all comes back to the way in which we lead.
Joe Faul, National Client Services Manager