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Retail Tales with Brian Brehmer: Too Many Managers

Retail Tales with Brian Brehmer: Too Many Managers

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There is an old expression that says too many cooks spoil the broth, which basically means that  if too many people are involved in a task, it will not be done well, and that is also true in retail when it comes to managers.

On a recent day, there were 10 employees in the store by 8am; three of which were workers and the other seven were managers of some sort or another. If the purpose of a manager is to manage employees, then this meant that there were 2 managers per employee, which has to be a joke right? Well, it would be a joke, if the managers actually managed the employees or assisted with tasks that needed to be done, which they did not on both accounts.

You might be asking yourself what the purpose of having all those managers in the store on the same day, at the same time, avoiding the same calls and the same work, and you would not be wrong in asking that question, and I’d love to give you an honest, intelligent answer, but sadly, there isn’t one.

I am not saying that these managers do not work, they do, just not in the way that you would expect them to or in a way that you would need them to do. Do they have conversations on the phone with boyfriends, girlfriends, significant others, their children? Yes. Are they on TikTok, Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook? Yes. Are they finding the darkest corner of the stockroom away from the cameras and hiding out? Yes. Are they sitting in the office on their phones, ordering shoes, ordering food, eating whatever grub hub delivers from the area all the while avoiding calls and pages for assistance? Yes.

Mike Klein via Flickr

The problem is, the company wants more and more people in the role of manager, so much so that they will hire them off the street or promote from within without training or skills or desire to do much more than walk around with a title, which can only lead to problems.

Here is a perfect example of what can and will go wrong with too many managers scheduled one day, and not the next. One of my sons had the (mis) fortune of working for the same company that I do only at a different location. He was the opening manager one day and had just a cashier to work with until 230pm, which meant that he spent the day running around trying to do everything all at once as well as be every employee that was not scheduled. Now come the next day, and you guessed it, by 8am, there were 6 people scheduled, 4 of which were managers. He asked why at least one of these people could not have been scheduled the previous day, and his questions fell on deaf ears. Oh, the boss did respond but not to his inquiry, but rather complained as to why he was doing so much work when it should be left for the employees, the ones that she had not scheduled that day.

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There is nothing wrong with being a manager (I was an assistant for 6 years) but rather with the way in which managers are hired and scheduled and by what is expected of them on a daily basis. Managers are supposed to manage, to see that work is done, to see that things are taken care of and problems are solved. Managers are to assist in getting the work done and making sure that the store continues to run and operate smoothly; not whatever it is that today’s managers find themselves doing on an hourly basis.

Retail, where too many managers spoil not only the store, but the hope and morale of those who actually show up and work each day.

Cover image courtesy of TheCoolQuest via Flickr

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