Are you a Leader or a Manager?

Now more than ever, rising business complexity related to creating a safe environment for employees and leading through a myriad of changes bring challenges to all leaders. 

As a retail leader, do you have the skills and expertise needed to be able to navigate through the complexities? Are you equipped to face the challenges? Who is equipped to face the challenges? Leaders can inspire and motivate people to perform to the best of their ability.  The manager can plan, organize and administer day-to-day activities.

There is the classic, age-old question of what’s the difference between a Manager and a Leader. If we start with our classic definition that Leadership is Influence. Then in the simplest terms: The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. 

 Which is better, a leader or a manager?

  1. Leaders Create a Vision, Managers Create Goals.

Leaders are visionaries and look at the larger picture. Leaders have a clear vision of where their organizations want to be in the future. Leaders assist the team to understand the greater role they can play to assist the organization. They consider things that go beyond what individuals do. They inspire people to become a part of something bigger. Leaders motivate the people they work with to help them realize their vision. 

Managers are concerned with setting, measuring, and achieving objectives. They focus on implementing processes. They control situations in order to achieve their goals.

2.            Leaders Think Ideas, Managers Think Execution.

Leaders embrace change and always look for opportunities to improve, develop new techniques and strategies for the organization. Leaders are always on the look for new ideas that can play an important role in driving change within organizations. 

Managers stick with what works, structures, and processes. They ensure that people operate efficiently and productively. Managers focus on specific ways to be organized in daily tasks as well as larger projects. Whatever the idea – managers find a way to divide it into smaller tasks and projects that the team can manage.

3.            Leaders Coach, Managers Direct.

Leaders believe in their employees and are optimistic about their potential. They resist the urge to tell their subordinates what to do and how to do it. Leaders encourage employees to think outside the box and look at the big picture.

Managers assign tasks and provide direction on how to complete them. Managers typically have clear guidelines in place regarding various aspects of their workplace. Their primary function is to instruct you on how things should be done.

4.            Leaders Develop, Manager Maintain

Leaders focus on people. They reach employees on a personal level to encourage them to work harder and inspire them to develop their skills as they work toward the company’s vision.

Managers focus on the systems and structures required to set and achieve objectives. They ensure that people’s daily operations run smoothly and help to avoid chaos. They concentrate on the analytical and ensure that systems are in place to achieve the desired results.

Being a leader is not always preferable to being a manager, and vice versa. You can be both, or you can prioritize developing your skills in one area. Choosing which qualities of a leader to emphasize is dependent on what your team requires of you and how you can best support them.

However, retail companies are beginning to understand the importance of Leadership over Management in more vital situations. Operationally, a manager can take a business unit, a district, or a division so far. Leaders can provide the vision to enhance the company’s culture, develop talent to a higher level of performance while generating the requisite results for sustainable growth. 

Now, which one are you?

How to Track Growth Goals?

Are you looking for ways to improve yourself personally or professionally? The real question is – “Do you want to improve your personal or professional life?” If the answer to this question is Yes – then read on. 

Personal development varies from person to person. It could be an improvement in your abilities, knowledge, life goals, or even personal characteristics. But how do you know if you’re getting better? How do you know if you’re progressing?

Setting your personal growth goals.


Self-awareness necessitates being genuine and honest with yourself. It entails being aware of your own personality, values, needs, emotions, habits, strengths, and weaknesses. This will help you understand yourself better. Most importantly this will assist you in determining what you truly want to achieve. 

We recommend you begin by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals as your primary objective. This abbreviation for the criteria that you should have for each goal that you set.

Specific: It means that objectives should be clear and concise. Goals that are uncertain are difficult to measure and even more difficult to achieve.

Measurable: Your goal can be measured or tracked. They must be definitive with a clear start and end point. This will allow you to see if you’re making progress toward your goal.

Achievable: Is your goal attainable? It can be difficult, but it is doable. If you don’t achieve impossible goals, you’ll be disappointed. It can be easy to talk yourself out of a goal, because they can be daunting. Here’s a suggestion – break your big goal down into small measurable action steps. This will allow you to recognize some measure of achievement along the way. 

Relevant: Your goal should be consistent with your overall plans and other life objectives. In line with your life’s mission and vision. Stay on plan and refrain from falling victim to the “Shiny Object Syndrome.” If you want to learn more about The Shiny Object Syndrome click the link to our podcast episode.  

Timely: Set a deadline for yourself. Begin by estimating how long it will take if everything goes as planned. Set a specific deadline. Setting a deadline accelerates your progress toward your goal.

 4 ways to track your personal growth?

  1. Develop milestones

Determine the smaller, more manageable steps needed to achieve your larger goal. Consider how you can divide it into smaller steps or tasks. You will be able to look back and easily reflect on what part of your journey is going well and where you need to focus your energy the next time you create milestones.

2.            Determine your progress

Keeping track of your progress is the best way to gauge your progress.

Set a calendar invite for checking it. Make a note of every step you take, no matter how minor, so you can see how far you’ve come. You can keep track of your progress by making a to-do list, keeping a journal, or downloading an app.

3.            Celebrate small wins

Don’t wait until you’ve completed all of your objectives. Congratulate yourself on even the most minor accomplishments. When you make significant progress, reward yourself with something special.

4.            Be accountable

Don’t be disheartened if you find yourself falling behind schedule. The important thing is that you’re working toward your goal. But remember to hold yourself accountable. You can work with a coach or another type of professional accountability partner to help you stay on track. This allows you to continue working toward your goals while receiving support and encouragement. To learn more about our coaching program click here:

Remember that there may be hiccups along the way to reaching your objectives. Instead of being afraid, identify the lesson and learn how to overcome it.

Failures and low points are normal, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Just keep working toward your objectives. Own your journey and become the leader you have always wanted to be. You’ve Got This!

What’s Important Now (W.I.N.)

We spent the past fourteen months being inundated with phrases like “… in times like this” and “now, more than ever”. As the United States begins to close out the pandemic, the world we used to know will be crashing into us at full speed. Remember the life of yesteryear when you would wake up early, workout, take a shower, attempt to eat breakfast, before rushing and waiting in traffic all before 8 am? You would then work a full eight hours or more and then rush home, maybe participate in a social activity or two. Maybe you would have to rush your kids to practice, before trying to find something decent to eat for dinner. Pre-pandemic life moved at a much faster pace. However, the pandemic, despite being tragic and often unpredictable, gave many of us the chance to slow down and think about “What’s Important Now”.

Thinking about my goals, dreams, and desires is something that I did not make time for in the past. I was in survival mode. Work. Try to stay healthy. I had to balance taking care of my kids while being mindful of my extended family. I was not living my best life. I lived
a life of mundane routine and while considered successful by some, I was not truly fulfilled. While I mastered the career and family part, I had other aspirations and interests. I wanted to travel and experience new cultures, return to school to learn additional skills, and even retire early so I could be intentional about spending quality time with family and friends.

I genuinely believe life is meant to be enjoyed and no amount of money could replace quality time. But how do we do that? Embracing the act of prioritization, where you break down your daily activities and weigh them against your goals is a step towards everlasting happiness and fulfillment. As a retail leader with over 25 years of progressive experience, I hope I can share a few reflections and lessons learned.

As I considered what’s important now, I learned how to slow down and ask better questions. If everything went away, which it almost did in 2020, who would I turn to? What truly makes me happy? And honestly, I did not immediately consider my job, social media, or status. Rather, I thought about my family. I wanted to have more meaningful conversations with each person and get to know them better. I decided to call them more often as well as organize moments where the family across the country could connect via Zoom or FaceTime calls. I cataloged important holidays and created reminders to ensure I would show up as more thoughtful and caring. As I considered the concept of what’s important now, I know for sure that my family brings me joy, laughter, and even encouragement and they have to be a top priority.

Ready to get work with an expert on Retail Leadership? Book your consultation today!

Retail Leadership: Part II

3 Tips to Help Ensure You are Day 1 Ready to Serve as a Retail Leader – Part 2

“Congratulations on your one-year anniversary! We are super proud to have you as a leader on
our team” are the words I remember hearing from my manager after completing my first
year at one of the largest global retailers in the world. It was a tough year. The economy was in shambles. The unemployment rate was at an all-time high. Despite the circumstances, my team emerged as one of the most successful retail teams across the country.

25 years later as an award-winning retail leader, I strongly believe that I grew the most as a
retail leader during my neophyte year. I made a conscious decision to show up Day 1 Ready
every single day of the week as I tried to model the leaders that I admired and respected. As I spent some time reflecting on my career and thinking about the wisdom that I could share,
there are a few leadership lessons that defined my tenure as a retail leader.

I embraced the Day 1 Ready mantra. Day 1 Ready is about the preparation you undertake
to start a new venture, job, mission, or task.

It is about the work that you do in advance to ensure optimal success for your team or
company. On the contrary, Day 1 Ready, is also about mindset. Day 1 Ready leaders bring a
contagious amount of energy, enthusiasm, passion, and curiosity every single day. Day 1
Ready leaders are optimistic, problem solvers, and strong communicators. There is a level of
consistency in their performance as they strive to produce top results and motivate others.
As we delve deeper into the Day 1 Ready framework, there are three tips to keep in mind
to help you reach your highest potential as a retail leader.

1. Be Courageous

Leadership requires courage. John Maxwell stated it best: “Successful leaders have the courage to take action while others hesitate.” Courageous leaders are brave, daring, and gutsy. They are decision-makers, skilled at using data to make an informed decision, but also understanding they might be faced with a tough decision where the answers are not clear. They are considerate and courageous, displaying an ethos of care when they are faced with decisions that could potentially impact their team. They are willing to take risks, experiment with bold ideas, and embrace new solutions that could place them ahead of the competition. When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone to try something new? When was the last time you experimented with a new idea? When was the last time you were faced with a tough decision and considered how you could leverage your influence and position to advocate for others?

2. Be Creative

I can remember hearing one of my favorite leaders tell me “Courage breeds creativity.” As a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader, your ability to be creative is going to help you beat the competition every single time. Being creative is thinking about how to create efficiencies, reduce waste, and optimize performance. Creative leaders are willing to speak up, going against the age-old saying “this is how we’ve always done it.” Creative leaders are courageous leaders.

3. Be Confident

When you are courageously ready to launch your new creative idea, it requires commitment. The Day 1 Ready mindset is about the willingness to do what it takes to get the idea over the finish line. You must stay committed when the idea does not go initially as planned. You are willing to try again, perhaps making tweaks to the initial idea, often seeking input and feedback from others. What if a team member has a new idea? Can you provide them with space and confidence to help them commit to their new idea? How do you provide feedback in a way that is affirming and encouraging? How do you reassure the team member that you will support them even if their idea fails? You are committed to their success as a leader and they need the confidence to experiment, even if their idea fails. What can they learn from the experience? What can they learn from you as a leader?

As you embark upon your journey as a retail leader, I invite you to keep in mind the success profile of a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader. The Day 1 Ready mindset is fostered through courage, creativity, and commitment. The nuggets I have shared are leadership lessons tested over a 25-year career as a retail leader. I am excited to continue the journey of your development as a retail leader. Please follow my blog for additional leadership lessons for retail leaders.

Ready to get work with an expert on Retail Leadership? Book your consultation today!

Retail Leadership: Part I

3 Tips to Help Ensure You are Day 1 Ready to Serve as a Retail Leader – Part 1

“Congratulations! The team would like to make you an offer…” are the words I remember the recruiter said with sheer excitement after I completed 3 rounds of tough interviews to join one of the largest global retailers in the world. While I was filled with tremendous excitement and pride… I felt a small knot in my stomach. I was happy but nervous. I knew I was capable but was I truly prepared?

25 years later as an award-winning retail leader, I can confidently say yes, I was ready for the challenge. However, I would like to share a few reflections and leadership lessons I have learned along the way to ensure you are “Day 1 Ready to Serve as a Retail Leader.”

The definition of Day 1 Ready is being prepared to start a new venture, job, mission, or task. It is about the work that you do in advance to ensure optimal success for your team or company. On the contrary, Day 1 Ready, is also the conscious decision you make to show up each day and treat every single day like it’s the very first day. It’s about bringing the same level of energy, enthusiasm, passion, and curiosity consistently throughout your time at the company. It’s about leading with intention, making the effort to contribute 110 percent every day, and staying optimistic and fully present while possibly navigating tough obstacles in the future. Keeping the Day 1 Ready mindset has proved to be one of the most valuable keys to success in a competitive, retail leadership environment. But how do you develop the Day 1 Ready mindset?

1. Be Curious

Ask questions. Ask lots of them. Ask them often. My number one tip for success as a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader is to be inquisitive. Take the time to ask questions that will help you learn more about the business. Try to ask questions that will help deepen your knowledge from an enterprise perspective as well as ask questions that will provide insight into your respective functional area. Ask questions to learn more about your team. What motivates them? What are the obstacles that hinder their performance? How can you assist in setting your team up for success?

2. Be Consistent

Consistency could easily tie for the best tip for success as a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader. Being consistent with your performance will yield huge dividends for you in the future. People like to promote people they believe will deliver results every single time. People like to follow leaders who are reliable and trustworthy. Being consistent is a choice. Every day you have to decide to show up and treat the new day, like it’s Day 1, with the same level of energy and enthusiasm you had when you first started the job. You must deliver, over-deliver if possible, on your commitments and motivate the team to do the same. If you are consistent, you will be able to soar as a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader.

3. Be Confident

“With confidence, you have won before you even started.”

Marcus Garvey

This is one of my favorite quotes because it embodies the Day 1 Ready mindset perfectly. Confidence is contagious. Confidence can help to motivate others and help to close deals. As a Retail Leader who embodies the Day 1 mindset, confidence is going to set you apart from other leaders. It is about effective communication, whether you are tasked with delivering positive or negative news. Confidence helps to reassure the team that you are prepared to lead.

As you embark upon your journey as a retail leader, I invite you to keep in mind the success profile of a Day 1 Ready Retail Leader. The Day 1 Ready mindset is fostered through confidence, consistency, and curiosity. When I think about my success as well as the success profile of colleagues in the sales industry, these are the traits that have bolstered us to have long, fulfilling careers in sales and will continue to bolster future leaders for years to come. Please follow my blog for additional leadership lessons for sales leaders.

Ready to get work with an expert on Retail Leadership? Book your consultation today!

Imposter Syndrome

I remember the first time I was asked to make a presentation in an executive leadership team (ELT) meeting. I was leading an award-winning retail team and the ELT wanted to hear my insights and observations as the team was considering expanding into a new international market.

While excited to make this presentation, I felt a wave of other emotions and questioned if I was the right person to represent the team. I was the least tenured and felt like I still had a lot to learn about the company. Even though my team tried to encourage me through the process, I did not feel as though I deserved to be in the room. As I shared my concerns, the common diagnosis was imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success (Corkindale). Imposter syndrome was coined by psychologists Paulene Clance and Suzanne Imes and nearly 70% of Americans struggle with these intrusive thoughts (Doggett). How do we show up as confident and capable? How do we silence those thoughts? I can honestly share it was not easy, but I did the work and continue to do the work to try and mitigate feelings of imposter syndrome as an executive retail leader.

As I reflected upon my 25-year career as a retail leader, there were 3 strategies that I leveraged to face imposter syndrome: Affirmation, Celebration, and Preparation. As I connected with peers, they shared similar language and examples about how these 3 strategies worked to help them face imposter syndrome head-on.


Affirmations are powerful. Affirmations are transformative. Affirmations are life-changing. Even one of my favorite Proverbs confirms this, whereas “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it, will eat its fruits (Proverbs 18:21).” As you are reading this article, I want you to know that you are talented. You are powerful. You are enough. You are more than capable. You have everything you need to excel. I hope you will adopt the practice of daily affirmations and continue to believe in your brilliance. Whether you write the affirmations down on your phone, on sticky notes, or on postcards, make sure you place your affirmations in a location where you can see them and recite them as needed.


Celebration, as defined as a transitive verb by Merriam-Webster, is to play up for public notice. Whether or not you decide to celebrate in public, the idea remains the same. You must celebrate where you are and stand in the truth that you are not here by accident. You have earned the right to receive a new job or promotion. You deserve to bask in joy and not be overwhelmed with doubt or fear.


Preparation, preparation, preparation. As you continue to read further, allow the words to echo in your mind and spirit. The more you prepare, the better you feel. Make sure you understand the requirements. Make sure you practice. Make sure you show up Day 1 Ready. You are more than a conqueror and your preparation should reflect that. You have unlimited potential to be successful beyond your wildest dreams. I am cheering for you and I believe in you. To check out more articles, please follow my blog for additional lessons for retail leaders.

Ready to get work with an expert on Retail Leadership? Book your consultation today!

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