Leadership training

"We do not want to go back to having bad managers again. We have seen the negative effect bad leaders have - On everything. We really value training our staff and new leaders now."

On a rainy Scandinavian summer day, I was catching up with an old friend over a cup of tea. We hadn't seen each other in a long time, and the conversation naturally drifted to work. He shared some enlightening insights about the importance of leadership and leadership training in the retail industry.

My friend has been working in the retail sector for well over a decade. For the past 7 years, he has been at a large, international company with a prime location on Strøget, Copenhagens' bustling shopping street. 

The Bad Leader Effect

A few years back, my friend confided in me about his store manager, who created a hostile environment that affected the employees' mental health and the stores' performance. The staff were all afraid of making mistakes, and they often called in sick. Turnover rates were high, and morale had hit rock bottom. My friend himself was on the verge of quitting.

The Shift: New Leadership, Better Results

Thankfully, things changed for the better. The store got a new manager, a great leader, who had also undergone formal leadership training.

"It's a big difference. Both for me but also for all our employees. We all feel it. And the results are speaking for themselves: We have less absenteeism, everyone's more engaged, and there's no fear of failure anymore. People are actually excited to try new things!"

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As the former store manager left, my friend moved into the role of Assistant Store Manager. He had been offered this position several times in the past but had rejected it due to not wanting to work with the previous manager. Now, he plays a crucial role in training and hiring new floor staff and is actively involved in shaping and developing the supervisor team. 

Why HR Needs to Work Close with Managers

While HR and L&D teams play a role in fostering a positive work environment, the store managers' influence on employee engagement is truly unmatched.

Unlike HR, managers in the stores have a close, daily relationship with their team members. This allows them to motivate, inspire, and guide their staff directly. In the case of my friend's store, the new manager's leadership skills directly translated into a more engaged workforce.

And the statistics make it even clearer. Gallup reports that managers hold the key to 70% of the variance in employee engagement. This means that the influence of managers on employee engagement could either be a significant strength for your organization or a glaring weakness.

blog image 70%At my friends' work, the positive impact of having a good leader wasn't limited to employee well-being, engagement and attitude. "This shift absolutely shows in our sales figures and customer satisfaction, too", my friend says and continues:

 "And no wonder it affects the store's performance! Now, our employees greet customers with smiles and professionalism, a great contrast to the insecurity and fear of getting reprimanded that used to dominate the store atmosphere with our previous manager."

Taking a sip of his second cup of tea, he adds, "So, yes, managers and leaders definitely have a HUGE impact on the store's performance! Now we train employees to also take more responsibility and that also leads to better engagement and performace." 

Creating Great Leaders Through Personal Leadership

My friend's experience is just one example of many. Exceptional managers consistently inspire and involve their teams to achieve remarkable results.

They cultivate environments where employees take ownership of their own and their team's engagement, creating workplaces that are hubs of productivity and profitability. But how do you develop such leaders? The answer lies in personal leadership.


Let us have a closer look at what makes a great leader and how you can develop great leadership qualities.Learn About our Personal Leadership Program

1. Proactive vs. Reactive Behavior🧭

Effective leaders are proactive rather than reactive. Proactive leaders take responsibility, initiate actions, and set clear goals. In contrast, reactive leaders often react impulsively based on emotions and feel like victims of circumstances.

How to be more proactive:

  • Understand Your Choices: Recognize that you control your reactions, thoughts, and language.
  • Pause and Assess: Avoid impulsive reactions; take a moment to evaluate situations.
  • Ask Key Questions: What do you want to achieve? What is the first step?
  • Choose Your Response: Act based on your goals rather than emotions.

2. Effective Prioritization ⏲️

Successful leaders know how to prioritize tasks to achieve long-term goals.

How to be successful with prioritization:

  • Identify What’s Most Important: Focus on tasks that contribute to your long-term success.
  • Minimize Stress: Plan effectively to avoid last-minute crises.
  • Focus on planned and important tasks: Invest time in tasks that build towards future success.
  • Learn to Say No: Protect your priorities from unimportant tasks and interruptions.

3. Building Mental Resilience 🏋🏾‍♀️

Mental resilience is the ability to adapt to stress and challenges effectively, an important part to do, be, feel and lead better. 

How to be more mentally resilient:

  • Develop a Positive Mindset: View challenges as growth opportunities.
  • Build Strong Coping Skills: Practice problem-solving, communication, and emotional regulation.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Eat well, exercise, and get adequate sleep.
  • Seek Support: Engage with friends, family, or a therapist.
  • Step Outside Your Comfort Zone: Challenge yourself with new experiences.

4. Understanding Motivation🎉

Motivation is a key driver of productivity and satisfaction. To be able to lead others well, its important to find your own motivation first. 

Finding and Nurturing Your Motivation:

  • Identify What Energizes You: Find out what makes you happy and engaged.
  • Incorporate Motivators: Bring these factors into your daily work.
  • Communicate Your Motivators: Share your needs with colleagues and loved ones.
  • Make Small Changes: Minor adjustments can significantly boost motivation.

Investing in Your Team's Success

My friend's experience highlights what many studies already show: A store's success depends heavily on the performance of its team, and the store manager plays a pivotal role in this. 

Despite the challenges, the benefits of personal leadership training far outweigh the costs. Stores that prioritize investing in developing their leaders are setting themselves up for long-term success.