June 23, 2023
C-Store managers unspoken fears impact their decision making. Of course, fears are personal concerns. They can come from one’s history, experience level, work environment, or personal characteristics. Identifying fears (or perhaps weaknesses) addresses store manager uncertainty and thus changes their responses. Having both awareness and a desire to change will typically provide all that is needed to address limitations. Without these limiting factors, natural strengths take performance to a higher level.
“We do not fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown.”
Most leaders understand their strengths. Using a strength is a great way to build teams, address problems and keep moving forward. Obviously, people are hired and promoted for good reasons. These reasons are the key to success. According to Nicole Celestine, applying our strengths in our careers leads to greater job satisfaction, work engagement, wellbeing, and work performance. That is, the use of strengths drives success more than any other factor.
Nonetheless, while focusing on strengths is the key, it is necessary to address any major weaknesses that can interfere with the strengths. Marcia Reynolds, argues that some weaknesses must be addressed. She recommends to “identify weaknesses, blind spots, and gaps in skills. “[It will] make success easier. She explains that “a person must ferret out limiting beliefs and conflicting values before they will commit to using new skills.”
Ways to Address C-Store Managers Unspoken Fears
Store manager uncertainty is a weakness that is often found to reduce their ability to improve operations. In a survey of recent c-store management trainees, they listed four key fears that limit their effectiveness. As with most fears, understanding and working (e.g., practice and training) to overcome them can be an antidote to inaction or poor management action.
1. Fear of Pushing the Team Beyond Their Abilities
When c-store managers unspoken fears relate to the need for approval or the fear of losing staff (e.g., during tight labor markets), the common error can be holding back on staff training or expectations. Ironically, the very choice to take it easy on someone often creates the opposite effect. Staff know when they are not given enough responsibility. The absence of accountability or expectation of good work, can come across as a lack of trust, support or even arrogance on the part of the manager. Such a feeling about your boss can drive people away or make them doubt themselves.
2. Fear of Being Too Hard
At the other end of the spectrum of low expectations are high expectations, low patience, harsh criticism. While managers expect a professional approach to work and the ability to get the job done, it can be taken to the extreme. With the knowledge that staff feelings directly impact how they treat the customers. it is natural to worry. They can feel that correcting or ‘pushing’ someone can make them feel angry, hurt, or uncomfortable.
If the fear of pushing to hard is present, managers can hesitate to provide necessary feedback and counseling. Good managers know that acting too harshly can demean their staff or make the person feel unimportant. Unless a person is confident and trusts their boss, there will likely be a lack of commitment to the team
Good managers never publicly embarrass their staff. They allocated sufficient time for training and allow a person to be themselves as long as the work is good. Managers must act to direct and develop their staff and the associated teamwork.
3. Fear of Being Too Soft
In contrast to being overly harsh, many managers report excessive softness. Surprisingly, the most often sited example of c-store managers unspoken fear is the concern about not being firm enough with key job functions. This fear causes them to rationalize overlooking bad behavior, impolite communication, or disregard for assignments. They worry that correcting such behaviors may cause hurt feelings that result in staff resignation.
Sometimes the soft approach results from burnout for those that do too much, lack of confidence, received poor training, have inadequate support, or a mistakenly believe that poor performance is acceptable.
Ironically, store manager uncertainty can happen from either being too hard or too soft. In fact, some managers even have both issues as they can over-react to mistakes and swing to far in the other direction. In the end, a fair approach that is not too much or too little gets better results.
Staff feelings matter. They need to feel appreciated, respected and qualified. Providing helpful feedback and having reasonable expectations ensure a balance that is just right.
4. Fear of Isolation
Despite even a long history of success, the isolation of store management can create doubt and uncertainty. Managers often think that “I must be doing something wrong to have these problems.” Others state fears such as “My team does not respect me.” or “I am not capable as these problems do not happen to others.”
Many times, simply hearing the same problem from a manager at a different store can be re-assuring. Managing a store can feel lonely. Further, other parts of our lives impact our confidence as well as our work life. Hearing others in the same role experience the same problems is re-assuring, even if the other manager takes a completely different approach to address a problem. Of course, learning a new approach can make things easier as well.
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
John Allen Paulos
Securing Success Despite Uncertainty
Fear and inexperience can clearly make it hard for a manager to act. However, even the most experienced and confident managers face difficult choices. No one can know exactly how to manage in every situation. Realizing our limitations, but having the courage to act is a key to success. Using our best judgment, trusting our staff and allowing for mistakes to drive growth keeps store operations on track. Do your best, care deeply and move together to find your success.
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