During my 25-year career in retail, my time spent as an Area Leader was, without doubt, the best and most rewarding part. Building and being part of a community and creating a sense of belonging among a group of passionate people as we worked towards a shared goal and vision was a great feeling. Watching keen, enthusiastic people build extraordinary careers was a highlight of this time, and I loved seeing people develop. That was a huge part of my ‘purpose’ as an Area Leader.

Finding and recruiting talent, driving results, and ensuring sustainable success have become priorities for every retailer and Area Leaders are at the sharp end of making it happen.
I’ve always said that Area Leadership, when done well, is the most rewarding and influential role in retail. But to do it well requires a strong sense of purpose.
The daily grind can chip away at the more meaningful aspects of work and pulls focus from the bigger picture.


With all of us taking a long hard look at our lives over the past two years, a sense of purpose has become more closely tied to productivity, engagement, and success.

Area Leaders are no different. The best are motivated by ownership and want to feel challenged by a culture that supports growth.


The success of Area Leadership is all about empowerment. Help your Area Leaders to regain it by reminding them what is great about the role and its potential.

Area Leaders are motivated by ownership. Strike a balance between freedom and focus – not too tight with micro-management, not too loose that it feels like a free-for-all. Set expectations and give them the freedom to make decisions to meet those expectations. Area Leaders appreciate constructive feedback, clear expectations, structure, and stability. Look for ways to align the business’ purpose with the individuals.

Here are some tips to help reconnect to purpose and build a culture of growth:

●  Remember why you wanted to become an Area Leader? How are you aligning your “Why” to what you do each day?
●  Set quarterly goals. Have a plan to achieve them to help you stay focused
●  Acknowledge yourself and meet your own need for significance
●  Leaders never stop learning. What can you do to meet your own need for growth?
●  Helping others to succeed – share your knowledge. Who can you take under your wing?
●  Ask yourself, “What are my strengths, and how can I amplify them?”
●  Find a mentor who can guide and support you.
Reconnecting to our sense of purpose moves us forward and helps us to focus on the future…  which is still up for grabs!

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