Recently, we covered the topic of how being a leader is not easy. There’s really no cookie cutter way to be a leader of any kind. Leadership abilities are developed over time and no two leaders are exactly alike. But, leadership is not the subject of this article. The subject is why the leader in question did what they did in handling a difficult situation or series of situations.
Here are some issue a district manager (DM) may face:
Issue One: Your DM opened a new store in the district
Issue Two: Your DM has one store that is gaining a new store manager
Issue Three: Your DM has another new store going to open in the district
Issue Four: Your DM has a store manager not measuring up to standards
Issue Five: Your DM has a store that is in dire straits
When we as store managers or as team members notify the DM of a problem, we often wonder why the DM did not just go and take care of it right then. In order for us to understand the why and why not, we need to take a snapshot of the bigger picture.
That snapshot will reveal several things. At the specific moment you have called your DM, any or all of the issues above could be on your DM’s mind. But in your specific store, you feel the problem needs to be addressed immediately and is a valid concern.
So why didn’t your DM address the problem right away? It all comes down to priorities. The DM had to consider the priority of each problem that has been presented. You may have one store to deal with and certainly you have concerns that need to be addressed, but again, you have only one store to contend with. The DM may have 10 or more stores to be concerned with. The priority of the day may be to get the new one up and going. Then, it is to get the new manager trained. Then, to negotiate and hire another set of team members for yet another new store opening within the next few months and then your problem with a store manager who is not living up to expectations. While you have may four hot issues on your plate, multiply that by our imaginary DM’s 10 stores and you’ll see how issues can exponentially spiral out of control.
As each of us know, a single store may have a slew of concerns to contend with. When you have a store that is on the problem list above, the problems are multiplied by a factor of at least 10. Now if you are in the store that is Problem 4 on the list above, your DM has you down on the list but, you are not going to be addressed for a while. The DM is not ignoring the problem nor forgetting. You are just down the list a few more steps. Now, the concern for you as a team member is when?
DMs have a lot on their plates. That is why they get paid the “big bucks” and most of them will acknowledge that. DMs are people, too, and rarely wish to hurt anyone and only want what is best for the team members they oversee.
DMs have a difficult task in managing the vast number of personalities under their tutelage. Each store will present a unique set of challenges each day. Those challenges are what make good DMs thrive as they relish the opportunity to help individuals grow. True leaders will look to challenge themselves with new opportunities to grow and learn. DMs do not look to avoid addressing a bad situation, they simply have to wait on the right time to do so.