Hardware Retailing

AUG 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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August 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 55 an exercise called "The Best of Me." You ask each person to finish these sentences: "You get the best of me when ..." and "You get the worst of me when ..." It helps people identify how they work best in their workplace. Next comes responsibility and accountability. Let's go back to the sports analogy. If you put a wide receiver at quarterback for a game, you're putting them in a role that they aren't most comfortable with. Maybe all three of your quarterbacks are hurt and it's what you have to do, but it's not ideal. HR: Do you think personality assessments play a helpful role? RM: I'm a big fan of assessments. I tend to think of personality or temperament profiles as being like the air we breathe. Personality is always present and generally doesn't change much. These personality assessments, such as Myers-Briggs or DiSC, provide some great information. If you look at these results, you can see where there might be personality conflicts or where people might work exceptionally well together, and it certainly helps to be aware of those. But you have to go beyond that. The next step is to look at functionality. You'll be working to look at each employee's expectations and performance. I think the StrengthsFinder program does a good job of showing how people are wired. If you know that, you know what makes each person more engaged and more productive. With a collection of engaged employees, you have good team dynamics and good teamwork. For example, an extroverted person could do an exceptional job on the salesfloor, but if they're dealing with an introverted customer, there might be a problem. An introverted and deliberative employee might do a better job working with that particular customer, who will want some time to think and process things. I think assessments often involve just the first step, the personality profile. The functionality side—what to do with this information and how it helps figure out where someone fits best on a team—is really important. Once you know what each person's personality is like, you have to look at how it can affect which job would be best for them. You have to get in to the psychology of what drives people, what sandbox they like to play in. HR: What about team-building activities? RM: When I think of the phrase "team building," I think of two very different definitions. One would be to look at how you build a team as a leader or manager. The other is what most people probably think of when they hear "team-building exercise," and that's something like a bowling night or ropes course. The first type would involve an exercise you might find through StrengthsFinder or DiSC. Those can be extremely helpful. People can talk about what they like and how they work best. You can draw in some personal things, but it's really a good way to get to know someone professionally. This helps ensure you have staff members in the right positions on the team, or if you don't, that you can look at possibly reorganizing to ensure you have everyone in the best place possible. It's also helpful information to have if you're looking to hire someone else for your team. If you know more about the people you already have, you can see where there are missing holes, and you can look to hire people with those specific skill sets. Other team-building exercises, such as a ropes course or some sort of trust exercise, can be good, but the results are temporary. I had a mentor who told me once that you have to be careful doing these exercises after work hours, as employees may think you are getting in to their personal time and may resent that. It's not saying you can't do them then, but it's something to think about. Also keep in mind that some people might not like a particular activity. They may not enjoy bowling or may be embarrassed. If you take " If you know more about the people you already have, you can see where there are missing holes, and you can look to hire people with those specific skill sets. "

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