Want to see your manager get squeamish? Ask them to mentor someone who works beneath them. I'm talking like total turtle neck squeamish where they want to curl up and die and I've yet to figure out why. I'll admit it: the first time I was asked to mentor someone my first thought was "on what? What do I even know?!" Guess know more than you think and that's why I want you to help you out with this super easy and beneficial task. This post will be separated into 2 parts. Part 1 will focus on what to mentor on as a manager in retail and Part 2 will focus on my personal tips for mentoring effectively. So, without further adieu, here are my favorite things to mentor on:

1. Scheduling

Want to take time off but you have no idea who will take care of the schedule? Take time out when business has slowed down a bit and ask your Assistant Manager if they'd like to learn something new. Teach them the basics.

2. ...along with how you calculate your hours per week you're allowed and all that other good stuff.

While teaching scheduling, make sure you also teach them the how behind all of it. You definitely don't want to come back from your vacation to find the schedule a hot mess! Extra points for the manager who takes the time to make a "how to" for the schedule to alleviate stress.

3. Being a manager

Sometimes being a manager can be really tough but mainly on those who are new to being a manager entirely. Most Assistant Managers have no experience and are new to the management game. It can be really difficult to draw that "employee/friend" line and can, unfortunately, end with a large amount of disrespect straight from the Sales Associates to the Assistant Managers. Demonstrate how to be a better role model & manager using firm real-life examples such as past experiences and rude customers.

For example, you witnessed a Sales Associate walk into work totally out of dress code and greet your Assistant Manager & the Manager left the issue for you to address. First and foremost I would address that situation before later mentoring, always address issues when they happen to avoid he said/she said. When you mentor at a later time, bring up that example and try a little roleplaying between yourself and the Assistant Manager pretending first that you're them and they're the Sales Associate (showing them how you would've handled the situation) and then reverse the roles. Let them know when they do a great job at it!

4. Whatever they want to learn

Sometimes you just need to stop wondering and ask! Ask your Assistant Manager what they'd like to learn and, if they're eager, they'll have a list waiting for you. I had a previous employee (Hi, Victoria!) who was always eager to learn as much as possible mainly because her major is in fashion but mostly because she's a hard worker and loved her job. To this day, I still get texts from her asking questions to help with school projects and current job situations and I LOVE IT. The best employees are the ones who are the most eager to learn.

5. New ways to display merchandise

I know how it is: As the Store Manager you get busy, you have no time for a floor move, and then before you know it it's been three months since the last one. The store looks the same as it did months ago and your sales have seriously dipped. The best thing you can do to make sure this doesn't occur is to mentor your entire staff on how to change the floor up!

Have them walk through the store with you and show them things you'd change and why you would change it. Teach them all the guidelines and where and when they can deviate from them. Ask them to take over for practice and, when business is slow, they'll have a new task to take charge of and you'll have one less task on your hand and a pretty new storefront.

6. Your tasks

We all know that things come up and sometimes it's just time to move on which is why I highly suggest mentoring your Assistant Managers on your tasks. Not only will this save the business owner should something happen with your position (or your get sick, god forbid!) but it'll also give your managers a very good perspective of what you're doing when they think you "aren't doing anything" and you've got a million things to finish.

Explain to them the why. Why do you do what you do? Who do these things have to be turned in to?

7. Upselling

Sometimes it can be really difficult to upsell especially when your boss is forcing you to push an item that no one has any interest in. Mentor your entire staff on the different ways to upsell and raise their sales. Have them role play with you and, first, have them be the customer while you show them how you upsell. Then, reverse the roles and have them show you! Be sure to point out any flaws in their upsell game but make sure to be gentle with it. Role playing is embarrassing enough as it is.

8. How to be more positive

Does your Assistant Manager show up to work everyday moody and complaining about how tired they are? Are they constantly sighing and never excited about anything? Confront them! If they honestly didn't realize they were being this way, ask if you can mentor them on being a happier employee. Daily, find new and exciting things to do to change up the day and get them to enjoy work. Come up with sales games to motivate them and, in turn, you'll be showing them how to be a good motivating manager. No one likes to work in a boring store, right?

Having trouble with your mentoring game? Email me at and your questions will be featured here!


Retail 101KaitlinComment