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Retail: Character, charisma and candour

bigstock-Leader-And-Ceo-101287331Retail is about participation where character, charisma and candour ought to prevail for consequential leadership to flourish. These three C’s are fundamental in today’s environment of customer-centric theatrics and interactive engagement. So seldom evident, particularly in outlets failing to inspire and secure sustainable market share.

Each an intuitive human behaviour but often regarded by professional and educational fraternities as disruptive and polarising, hence their systematical and deliberate curtailment. Probably intimidated by individuality, confused by perceived eccentricity and shying from the anticipated complexity of uniqueness.

Nonetheless, the titled are essential in oiling the cogs of the retail machine by ensuring systems are in place, appropriate processes are adhered to and meaningful accountability is implemented. The sentinel of the mundane.

Do not be fooled by current propositions alluding to the premise that entrepreneurship is detrimental to retail. This emanates from the deluded with an unconvincing appetite to extricate them from an archaic mindset. A reluctance to deal with the deplorable attitude of administrators demanding compliance before innovation and in misconstruing opportunity to suit personal agenda. Regularly employing the histrionics of smoke and mirrors in futile efforts to camouflage.

By contrast, the successful operators empower personalities who challenge the norms by questioning the mediocre whilst establishing a robust culture via mentorship and purposeful inclusion. A respect of enterprise and an acknowledgement for the multifarious mix of hard work and ingenuity.

In a world of timelines, deadlines and improving productivity such leaders make and take the time to show their appreciation. Not just saying the words, but meaning them with heartfelt gratitude. There is no greater gift than endeavour acknowledged – it revives mojo and invigorates resolve in the anticipation of eliciting further endearment. Recognition is an affirmation of belonging, an acquiescence to making a difference, a valued contribution – for some, even a legacy

The three C’s of effective retail leadership.

  • Character – moral and ethical qualities giving rise to unequivocal integrity.
  • Charisma – the ability to attract, charm and influence people individually and as a collective that inspires devotion and passion.
  • Candour – impartial, frank and open-mindedness. Embracing change and calling it as they see it.

Retail is about simplicity, complicated by feeble leadership, handicapped by inconsequential management tiers resistant to and burdened by a syndicate of barren yes-people.

The reality is with the customer. The fortitude is with the employee. The inspiration with the leadership. Always leaving the art of retail to the retailer.

Retail is about the people, for the people, by the people.

Dave Farrell is a retailer and writer with three decades of experience on three continents. He can be reached at Freelance Alliance NZ on

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