The Poison Fruit…err Vegetable of Retail

Written by Joshua Tupper. A fantastic Coach and Leader.
I’m sure most of us have been there at one time or another when someone in a position of power dangles the proverbial carrot in front of our face.

“If you do this I’m sure you’ll get that promotion.”
“The one thing you’re really missing is this…”
“You’re the next in line, but if you don’t do this job maybe someone else will take your spot.”

There is nothing wrong with trying to motivate your leadership candidates, but if you dangle that carrot too many times eventually that candidate is going to end up with a sour taste in their mouth.
I worked in a retail store from the time I was 16 until I was 28 and I honestly thought that would be my career. I loved almost every minute of it! The customer service, the personal relationships and the brand new technology. For years I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, but then it changed.

I was always considered a “strong leadership candidate”, “someone with real potential” and even “the future of this company”, but for one reason or another things never fell into place. It took a while, but I finally realized I wasn’t being developed for my own gain, I was being developed for someone else’s. I started to realize my promotions always coincided with one of my manager’s promotions.

It finally became clear.

He wasn’t developing me for me, he was doing it for himself.

My success wasn’t actually my success, it was his. He was dangling that carrot over and over again not because he ever had any intentions of moving me forward…unless there was some benefit to his career.

That day changed everything for me.

I knew that day that I needed to alter my career trajectory, so I finally took things into my own hands. I realized I could no longer rely on someone else to make opportunities for me, but more than anything I was never going to be led by someone who chose to manage just by dangling that silly carrot.
I made the decision that day the type of leader I wanted to be and even more importantly the type of manager I didn’t want to be.

I’m not saying that leaders shouldn’t use a promotion as motivation, but that promotion should be obtainable and it shouldn’t be the only motivation. When you take someone under your wing it should be for the right reasons and not simply because you need to add having developed someone onto your own resume. If you decide to make that commitment to someone and their development here are a few things I think you should know.

Before you Begin
👉 Try and understand how they learn and how you’re able to teach. If they’re a solitary learner, but you prefer a social approach you both need to understand how and if you can mesh your styles. If you can’t that isn’t either of your faults, but helping them find the perfect partner is just as important as being the person who developed them yourself.
👉 Set expectations and boundaries, this goes for both of you.
👉 Draw a road map, in pencil, let them know where you are going, but be ready to make amendments because sometimes the path needs to change.

During Our Partnership
👉 Remember you’re trying to develop a future leader, not someone for internal advancements only. The person you’re developings next job might not be with your company and that’s okay.
👉 You aren’t responsible for their development, you’re responsible for providing them the tools and access to an opinion, but it’s their responsibility to decide how and if they use those tools.
👉 They need you to provide them with an external and objective opinion and if a time comes when you feel you can no longer provided objectivity it’s your responsibility to let them know
👉 Please use situational awareness, you don’t always need to push them and sometimes a push could have the opposite effect and could even be discouraging. Try and read the room and encourage them to try and be as communicative as possible
👉 Don’t ask them to do your work, teach them how to do it and show them the value in it. Too many times we take something off our own plates and put it onto someone else’s without explaining the value in it. It’s like putting kale on my plate without explaining why it’s so good for me!
👉 Their success is your success and vice versa. They’re going to try and make you the best coach possible and you’ll try and make them the best student possible.

👉 Care. If you take a genuine interest in them and their development, they’ll do the same with you. This is the single most impactful suggestion of all!

When It’s All Said and Done
👉 You are both going to have learned something from this journey whether good or bad. It’s up to you both how much time and effort you are looking to put into this.
👉 By the end they’ll probably owe you a drink and a bottle of Tylenol because developing them might give you a few headaches on the way but a true development partnership will lead to a lifelong friendship. People never forget someone who takes a genuine interest in them and supports them when they truly don’t need to.

Does any of this sound familiar? I bet the house it does.
At the end of the day you know what is right and what is wrong and I can not stress enough to stay on right path even though the journey may take a little longer.

Have a PHENOMENAL day.


Do you feel you have it in you to write a blog post? Let’s discuss as Joshua Tupper and I did and now he is a published blogger.

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Have a PHENOMENAL day.

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