7 Essential Skills Managers Must Have to Help Your Retail Business Succeed

It’s been said that “people leave managers, not companies.” That should give you some indication of how crucial good managers are to the success of your business.

“All managers hold the key to leading employees in the direction the business needs to go,” says The Retail Doctor, “but this is especially true in a retail business. That’s because retail management wears many hats.”

Here are 7 essential skills The Retail Doctor says all retail managers must have:

1. The ability to multitask – Not only do managers have to oversee employees, but they have to be mindful of their abilities and weaknesses while prioritizing multiple projects. The best managers are capable of multitasking and balancing these priorities without losing productivity.

2. An aptitude for decision-making – Effective managers have the ability to evaluate and make decisions that are crucial to the success of your store. Being in retail often requires managers to act upon decisions quickly, while sifting through what’s important and what isn’t. Keeping a manager on board who can’t make important decisions means you, as the business owner, will be losing sleep, sales opportunities, and profits.

3. A talent for leadership – Good managers know how to get optimum performance from their employees while building them up in the process. This requires the ability to offer constructive criticism, instead of belittling employees and coworkers, along with treating others with respect. Additionally, good managers lead by example and inspire employees to give their best.

4. A knack for motivating people – This skill is directly related to leadership. After all, to be effective as a manager, the ability to motivate employees is absolutely essential. A successful manager excels in cultivating motivation, as well as enforcing clear performance expectations. Keep in mind that setting goals will help managers stay focused on the long-term success of your company.

5. A mastery of business development skills – The best managers are able to recognize areas of the company that need improvement. Streamlining procedures, hiring the best employees, overseeing employee training, and reducing costs are just some of the ways a manager can demonstrate business development skills.

6. The capacity for effective communication – The spoken word is just one component of communication. Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice are all combined with words to convey a message. Good managers have mastered the ability to communicate the points they are trying to make but also genuinely listen to those around them.

7. The finesse to make the first sale of the day –  When employees see their managers actively selling the first customer of the day—even if it means those manager have to wait on several people until they make that sale—the example they set for their employees is the best way to motivate them to live up to performance standards and make more sales.


Peter Drucker (the man who invented management) once said, The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.” That’s why it’s so important that managers possess the 7 essential skills listed above.

As Dale Carnegie points out“What managers do, how they behave, what they say and importantly how they say it affects employees’ attitudes about their jobs and the organization as a whole.”

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.