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Retail cultures reflect leadership

LeadershipThe retail culture is an evolving set of collective beliefs, values and attitudes actualised and reflective of leadership style and psyche.

Often the hardest pills to swallow for management, but if there is to be any expectancy of change it requires self-reflection, self awareness and the courage to develop oneself. A realisation that the company name is not the overriding brand nor is product and price-point decisive factors. An acceptance and commitment to a retail culture around an ethos that people are the brand – customer and employee alike.

Collective beliefs

Celebrating innovation and participation through positive encouragement in a safe environment of open communication delivers beyond expectation. Positivity takes on its own momentum, requiring little effort other than mentoring within defined parameters.


Victimizing the out-of-the-box thinker as disruptive via the dictatorial micromanagement of all using the half-full mindset will affect productivity. Negativity demands fruitless effort to curtail natural human behaviour.

The difference between the two irrespective of the degree is trust and courage.


Value people and they will add value to the business.

Value participation and productivity will be exponential.

Value positiveness and confidence will abound.

Value family and the extra mile is a road well-travelled.

Value personal development and there will be no limits.


Attitude is measured by the perception of the employee and replicated to that of the leadership’s behaviour. Derived by observing personal interaction, body language, communication capability and nuances of what isn’t said.

Lead by example and not always from the front. Domination intimidates. Transparency builds trust. Secrets destroy it.

Leader = people focused and charismatic. Manager = work focused and authoritarian. Transformational as opposed to transactional.

There is a tendency in us all to highlight that which is wrong in order for it to be rectified – a primeval demeanor to fix what is broken. Whereas invention and discovery thrive when we embrace neurodiversity and favour positive reinforcement. After-all improving the candle played no part in the advent of the light bulb.

Retail is about excitement, atmosphere, innovation and every other recreational diversion so why wouldn’t leadership, stimulate a congruent culture that identifies and above all delivers.

It’s about people, for people by people.

Dave Farrell is a retailer with three decades of experience on three continents. He can be reached at

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