my store is doing great because I’m breaking all our policies — Ask a Manager

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

I have been the manager of a clothing retailer (think along the lines of Forever 21, H&M, etc.) for two-ish years. Unfortunately, the brand at large is not doing very well. My store, however, has outdone our performance metrics by over 400% and for the past five (!!!) quarters has been recognized as the top location in the United States. I’m really, really proud of what my team and I have been able to accomplish.

There’s a catch, though. I did it by breaking all of the rules. The guidelines I’m meant to be following as a manager are pretty draconian and I just could not bring myself to follow them. I rarely follow disciplinary procedures or officially file infractions, and I don’t hold my team to our attendance policies. I basically created my own standards to replace my employer’s standards. As a result, I’ve had several employees tell me they’ve never felt more respected in a workplace before, and I think that shows in the quality of service we provide to our customers! There’s also littler things like creating displays following the guidelines corporate sends out, only to dismantle them and replace them with ones that will actually appeal to our clientele. I know that this isn’t okay, but I’ve always justified it to myself by telling myself that my job is to manage this store and help it be successful. Upper management has been so checked out that I just got comfortable operating things this way.

Last week I got an email saying that they’re sending some strategy consultants to our location to talk to me, pick my brain, etc., and I don’t know what to do, because I feel like everything I’ve done to make our store a good place to work at and shop at has been directly at odds with the instructions and directions I am supposed to be following.

I could just revert things back to the way they should be, and shrug my shoulders whenever the consultants ask me why my store in particular is performing so well, but it feels bad to be given the opportunity to make a difference and not take it because I’m scared of getting in trouble! What do I do!

Readers, this one is yours! Please weigh in via the comment section.

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