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A management situation more challenging than most.

A shopping centre manager is often a jack of all trades, handling everything from marketing campaigns to development issues, fire safety to tennant care. In addition she has a management challenge out of the ordinary:

Her mandate is to lead people who are not her employees. The shop staff are to follow the rules and regulations of the shopping center, but they do not work for your shopping centre manager. That means she can not instruct the the shop staff, and if she does she has no direct way of sanctioning anyone who does not follow instructions. That is why centre management is true leadership. And that is why the job is so difficult. How do you lead when you are not the boss of those you are meant lead?

A center managers’ most important job

The most important job of you centre manager is to make sure everyone works toward the same goal. Implementing the strategy of the shopping centre is not an easy task, but that is the job of the center manager.

This presupposes that the center HAS a startegy, and knows what it is supposed to be, to whom. When the goal is clear the real job remains, executing the strategy.
To borrow Peter Druckers words: 

- Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.

Choice of tasks and tactics to implement will therefore be of the greatest importance. A centre manager who succeds in creating entusiasm and engagement is often the key to effective implementation of the strategy. More so than for instance digital marketing skills, or a good eye for numbers.

A select few areas to focus on with Your shopping centre manager

1. Shop owners are key – To drive the strategy for the centre making sure it aligns with the plans of the individual shop or chain of stores are a premise for success. They are the ones who manages the shop employees. If the centre manager makes their job easier she is well on the way of pulling everyone in the direction she is moving.

2. Everyone wants to be seen – A good shopping centre manager takes time weekly, and preferrably daily on motivating the shop staff. Make the effort of individual employees and individual shops visible to their colleagues. And maybe even more important make their effort visible to the store owners. That way you hit two birds with one stone: Updating the owners and motivating the shop employees!

This is all good and well but a centre managers’ job does not start with making people visible. It starts with why. A shopping centre manager must be clear about what needs to be done and how it should best be done, but most of all why it needs to be done. Management consultant, leadership guru, and author Simon Sinek gives a brilliant insight into this in his book «Start with Why», where he explains that most people don’t buy what you do, but why you do it. It is the difference between saying to the shop staff: At our next Crazy Days sale the target is to sell 20% more than last year. That encreases the revenue and both you and your customers will be thrilled. Let's do it!

Versus saying: Our goal is to make sure each and every customer leaves a little more happy than when they came here during the Crazy Days sale. We do this by making sure they are able to take advantage your offers. Make sure to tell them about every offer so they can choose what they need. Good luck, I’m looking forward to see how you do!

If you are not familiar with Simon Sinek i recommend you watch a short introduction to «Start with Why» with one of his many TedX presentations. It may be the best 18 minutes you spend today. (See link at the bottom of this article).

And to finish off, lets live by our own preaching and start by explaining to your shopping centre manager why you want her to spend her main effort on motivating, rather than telling her the what you want her to do and how.

The goal is that your centre manager works not as a manager but as a leader. And that she leads your customers to shopping experiences worth coming back to. Leads the shops to encreased revenue, and you as owner of the shopping center to growth your competitors can only dream of!

Simon Sinek, click here to see the video clip: «Start with Why».