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How to Be an Effective District Manager
District managers oversee a group of offices or stores, typically within a defined geographic area. These districts are typically metropolitan areas, such as a grouping of Chicago-area retailers. District managers oversee individual store managers, and are responsible for the ultimate well-being of each. Being an effective district manager involves ensuring each location is correctly staffed and led. They also must have excellent communication skills.
Be an effective bridge between corporate headquarters and your store or office locations. Your ability to properly communicate directives to individual managers is essential to each location correctly executing these plans.
Set expectations for each manager. These expectations may involve hitting a certain sales number each quarter, executing a company-wide merchandising reset or other important issues. Don't be afraid to coach, and stay firm in your desires; your goals are the same as those of the company you work for.
Stay available. Let each manager know you're an e-mail or phone call away to clear up any confusion with instructions, or to get advice. Remember that your relationship with each manager is a partnership, and should be handled as such.
Conduct regular informal drop-ins at each location. You may choose to inform location managers about these, or you may not. When a store or office location is never sure when upper management will pay a visit, appearances, execution and conduct tend to be tighter.
Make it clear to each location manager that important concerns will be relayed up the chain as necessary. One of your goals is to be an intermediary. Every employee at every level likes to know she has a voice, and that her opinions are heard.
Don't micromanage each store manager. They're in that role because they earned it, and should be allowed to run their locations as they see fit, within reason. Intervene if you can accurately determine their strategies are failing, or if company policies are repeatedly violated. Give praise for successes, but keep management aware that the goings-on at each location are known.
Show concern for each location. Get to know each person who works there as much as possible. Do not give the impression you are simply "babysitting" each location on behalf of corporate.
- Adopt an attitude of continuous personal improvement, and let that habit become the norm among managers below you.
David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.