A job that I would love to do would involve being a manager of a retail store for one of the most innovative companies in the world, AT&T. For years, AT&T has delivered world-class telecommunication solutions for consumers and businesses alike. AT&T has a global presence and is based out of the United States of America. While there are various corporate offices around the world, there are thousands of retail stores located around the country too. I would be highly interested in being a retail store manager at a busy location.
The position of being a retail store manager would require an individual to have complete oversight over the retail operation. Managers are responsible for all major operations of the store and are accountable for sales, promotion of the company’s products and services as well as delivering on the company promise. Here is a brief list of the primary requirements of the job:
Sales and Marketing. The retail store manager is accountable for demanding sales quotas and ensuring that promotional initiatives are met with proper execution.
Hiring. Managers are also responsible for screening, hiring and training qualified candidates who are going to be effective team members.
Inventory Control. Managers must also be able to maintain inventory and reconcile with all products in the store, whether with an external company or with internal employees.
Loss and Prevention. Managers must also maintain and prevent unwarranted theft through internal control measures and policies.
Team Building. Building an essential team is also critical to being a successful store manager. Managers must demonstrate a clear set of skills in terms of coaching, handling difficult situations and promoting continuous personal growth.
Store Cleanliness and Presentation. With adherence to corporate policies and standards, manages must be able to keep reputable and up to date store with the latest phones, tablets, and accessories within the scope of AT&T’s products and services.
Corporate Reporting. Managers must work effectively with district retail managers and communicate regularly. Adherence to corporate policies, initiatives and demands must be met with timely response and execution.
Goal setting will also be an important part of being a retail store manager for AT&T. Goals play a critical role in making sure that there are effective metrics for meeting a goal or objective. Dale Schunk, in Goal setting and self-efficacy during self-regulated learning, argued that there is clear value in goal setting for the learning process and efficacy of performance in a situation. While the research article focused mainly on the learning context of students, the job of a retail store manager would be a new job for me that I had never done in the past. As a result, most of the principles of learning effectively and tracking my progress would still be useful. Having a very clear cut method of setting metric for myself and then tracking my improvement for various aspects of my job would surely quantify my performance and allow me to deliver better products and services to my customers while ensuring that my team members are taken care of. I would be setting a good example for my subordinates, especially my key salespeople.
Sales tracking. Setting goals and tracking them would be the most effective for having my store meet its intended sales quotas. Since AT&T corporate stores are expected to have a certain number of new and upgraded device activations per month, this is an essential portion of my job. Also, my quarterly and most likely year-end bonus would depend on this. By setting a realistic goal and practicing self-judgment, I can close the gap between perception and reality. According to Schunk (1980), “self-judgment involves comparing present performance with one's goal. Self-judgments are affected by the type of standards employed, goal properties, the importance of goal attainment, and performance attributions” (p. 73). For the case of sales quotas, the priority would be very high for me. In reaching parts of my goal throughout the coming weeks and months, I would surely be even more motivated to continue to excel in my work and make a great example. I know that if I continue to perform very well, I can not only make lots of money for myself, but I can also create lots of value for my team of people.
Continuous learning. Goal setting would also motivate me to do better because I would continue to learn from feedback. In working with a corporate team of district managers and support professionals from AT&T, I know that I would get the support and feedback that I need in order to excel on the metrics that I want to focus on. In getting feedback from people above and below me, I can follow through with being better at my job: Schunk remarked that “providing feedback on progress in learning the strategy enhanced achievement outcomes” (1980, p. 79). The fact that people would support me in my goals is extremely beneficial and motivating because I know that I would be continuously pushing myself to do even better and better.
Generally, I react to stressful situations by closing myself off and being quiet. For instance, in a previous position that I had, I was given a really tight deadline on completing a project that my boss proposed. Without really thinking about it, I accepted the project and then became very stressed out when I knew that I could not complete it on time. Instead of asking for help or owning up to my own mistake of picking up the project, I merely closed myself off and began to be very introverted at work, a very different persona than I usually have. While my boss asked me many times why I had been acting strangely, he did not find out that I was struggling with the project until I owned up at a lunch that we had together. Clearly, this can be a serious issue if I am expected to communicate and work closely with a team of people. I would be expected to set a good example for others by encouraging them to be open about issues that they may have.
Classifying the stress. Before addressing a coping method for stress management, it is important to first classify the type of solution that is appropriate. A stress survey has been found to be beneficial. For example, according to Katherine Richardson in Effects of Occupational Stress Management Intervention Programs: A Meta-Analysis, there are three main types of stress management techniques that are dealt with in different ways: primary, secondary and tertiary. According to Richardson (2008), “primary interventions attempt to alter the sources of stress at work” (p. 70). Secondary and tertiary try to use external or third party methods before the actual stressor affects one’s behavior. The latter methods are more preventative than anything. For my problem of shutting down my communication, I need to adopt a coping method that will be focused on addressing the way I think about problems as they happen. So, the effective means of coping with my stress reaction would be a primary intervention on behalf of my boss or assistant manager I trust.
Primary intervention technique. In order to change my stress reaction method, I would need to change some of the core work conditions that cause it. So, in order to “reduce the presence of work-related stressors” I would need to figure out what projects and circumstances cause me to be shut down (Richardson, 2008, p. 69). Managing tight deadlines and making a proper schedule for myself would be a really great starting point. I could tell my staff that certain projects are important for me and could plan ahead. If I am stressed out after that, then I could talk to my team and have them assist me in making sure that I am communicating when it is necessary. This would create an effective support system for not just the people I work with, but myself as well. A solution that addresses my core challenges regarding stress would help me deal with work-related problems much better and handle situations without compromising my work performance.
In the course of working as a retail store manager for AT&T, I will undoubtedly be faced with communication issues that are related to nonverbal and cultural barriers. It is a critical part of my job to handle these instances delicately and smoothly. After all, the stakes are very high: customers must feel welcome in my store and employees have to be sensitive towards their perspective and point of view. Also, since the United States is made up of many immigrants, I would need my staff to be capable of communicating effectively without insulting, misguiding or misleading the customer. Moreover, my staff would need to feel comfortable communicating with myself and other employees. If I work in a heavily Hispanic populated area, the cross-cultural communication skills would be even more important. With respect to nonverbal communication, it would be a challenge because it requires an extensive amount of emotional intelligence. If staff members or customers are upset, then the people I work with are going to need to have the capacity to discern between what is important to recognize and what does not matter.
Nonverbal barriers to communication. Nonverbal communication is still an integral aspect of the way that people talk to one another. Whether we say words or use our body, we are still communicating very powerful messages. Nonverbal communication would be handled in a very professional manner when it comes to my store, employees, and customers. For example, employees would need to always be smiling and having an open posture to ensure that they are welcoming to customers. None of them would be allowed to chew gum or be on their own mobile phones in front of customers. Moreover, they would not be permitted to have their hands in their pockets. Such behaviors would ensure that we are fostering a great environment of friendly associates. Also, employees would need to pay careful attention to customers and their reactions. I would also need to do the same for my people as well. For instance, if I am having a meeting with a team member regarding pay or salary, I would need to be careful to understand their perspective through tone and posture. Such attention to detail would allow me to effectively lead by example.
Cultural barriers to communication. One effective means of dealing with cross-cultural communication differences is to first understand the culture versus cultural influence. For instance, if a customer comes in and is of oriental descent, then I would need my staff to abide by cultural standards of being polite and not too aggressive. Since many oriental cultures are focused on having good manners, it may not be a good idea to be overly friendly towards them. In this instance, Levine, Park, and Kim (2007) suggested that “it is fundamentally important to distinguish whether researchers are investigating culture per se or examining the cultural influence on people’s communication patterns” (p. 210). For the case of the previous situation, it would be vital to examine how cultural communication patterns affect sales situations in a retail store. The same principles of analysis and sensitivity would apply to employees. Employees, including myself, would need to address cultural communication differences with an attitude of tolerance, understanding, and openness.
Levine, T., Park, H. S., & Kim, R. (2007). Some conceptual and theoretical challenges for cross-cultural communication research in the 21st century. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 36(3), 205-221.
Richardson, K., & Rothstein, H. (2008). Effects of occupational stress management intervention programs: A meta-analysis. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 13(1), 69-93.
Schunk, D. (1980). Goal setting and self-efficacy during self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 25, 71-86.