Hardware Retailing

APR 2018

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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I t's not you… it's me. This line has been used so many times to end ill-fated relationships that it has become a cliché, a self-deprecating way to point out that two individuals simply aren't compatible. Chances are a few of you out there have either heard, or perhaps used, this line in your own romantic endeavors. But let me ask you if you have ever had this same sentiment on the job. This month, in our feature beginning on Page 50, we will look at some of the common mistakes retailers make when hiring and how to avoid those mistakes when recruiting new team members. The story provides some keen insights from retailers who strive to continually improve their teams by adding qualified, well-vetted members. But there is one "hiring mistake" that I have seen people make that is perhaps the most difficult one to overcome. And that leads me back to the infamous breakup line: It's not you, it's me. The mistake I am referring to is in no way specific to those of you operating in the retail world; it can apply to just about any workplace, but there are some reasons it can be more vexing for independent retailers. So, what is this mistake? I guess the easiest way to put it is that as independent business owners, you are often the sole decision-maker in your operation. You call the shots. You pay the bills. You make the decisions. So, oftentimes when an employee doesn't seem to measure up to your standards, you immediately assume the employee is the problem. I've even talked to retailers who will go so far as to tell me how they just can't seem to hire a decent employee no matter how hard they try. I'm sure there are instances where you can go through a rash of bad hires. But sometimes, when you look around and none of your employees seems to be meeting your expectations, perhaps it's not them… it's you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting high expectations for any individual you are paying to perform a job for you. In fact, you should set high expectations. But if you look around your operation and feel that your employees are constantly missing the marks you set for them, there's a good chance you need to look beyond just their performance. It's not at all unlike that 40-year-old bachelor sitting on his couch surrounded by empty pizza boxes while playing video games complaining about how women set their standards too high. Again, there is nothing wrong with setting high standards, but a good leader goes beyond goal setting. A good leader looks for ways to empower employees to reach their goals, motivates them to perform better and is willing to listen to constructive feedback on how things could be done better. So, as you read our article about how to avoid hiring mistakes, don't overlook the fact that a big part of finding the right team that will help take your business to the next level involves your willingness to evolve and improve as a leader. Committing to this kind of improvement can truly be a career-long pursuit, but the better you become at leading your team, the more certain you can be when you do have to let someone go that it might actually be them… and not you. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org Breaking Up Is Hard to Do Taking Care of Business " A good leader looks for ways to empower employees to reach their goals, motivates them to perform better and is willing to listen to constructive feedback on how things could be done better. " HARDWARE RETAILING | April 2018 10

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