I worked in retail from when I was 18 years old to 22 years old. I loved that job. It was my first real job. I enjoyed helping customers, putting out shipment, straightening the store, and so much more. I proved that I was a hard worker as a sales associate. I took every shift that someone called off. I even came in if it was my one day off. I eventually after 2 years working there got a promotion to become a supervisor. The assistant manager that I worked under worked there from when I started. She always saw how hard I worked and even was pushing for me to get promoted. After two years of working as a manager, I noticed her coming into work more and more stressed out because of things that were going on in her personal life. This made working around her become more difficult.
I was not the only person who noticed work was starting to become a tense place to be. A lot of the sales associated started calling off more and would come to me and say how thankful they were that they were closing the store with me instead of some of the other managers. This was a red flag to me since I always tried to get my work done as a supervisor while also trying to monitor what all the sales associates were doing. I tried to be fair and see what motivated them. I even told them they could talk to each other and enjoy working with each other as long as they were multitasking and getting their work done at the same time. As long as they were putting customers first and getting shipment out on the sales floor, I was fine with they talking which I thought created a positive work environment.
Apparently, the other managers didn’t do that. They were so strict about working and acting very bratty at times. I not only heard about this from the sales associated but I felt the same way when I was working with them also. Especially the assistant manager. I think since she was dealing with personal issues, she no longer was concerned about anyone else but herself. It put me in a weird situation because I was no longer feeling motivated at work because she did not make me feel appreciated. When the sales associates would come to me about how the assistant manager would treat them, it was hard for me to console them. Part of me wanted to console them but I still wanted to act professional so I would say, “I’m so sorry you feel that way.” I would also tell them that since the assistant manager was technically my boss, I cannot control her actions. I did let them know that I appreciated them and I hoped that counted for something.
I felt at this point my assistant manager did not understand the concept of path-goal theory. She no longer motivated her followers to complete their goals. She actually probably did the opposite. Everyone was feeling less motivated because of how selfish she was acting at work. I felt like she was always having a pity party for herself and I truly believe it was because of the personal issues she was dealing with in her life. The path-goal theory emphasizes how the leader should motivate their followers towards a goal, create clear goals, give great coaching, and remove hard obstacle that keep you from completing a goal (Northouse, 2016). At one point, She was so incredibly good at all these things. I think she still tried to set clear goals but she was so aggressive about them and complained throughout the way when someone did something wrong that it was not motivating to anyone to achieve the goals.
The assistant manager at one point used to be super supportive of a leader and now she is very directive. Being directive can be a very good way to be as a leader since there will be less room for error since it is very direct and straight forward in what is expected. I think her downfall was she did not do this in a way that would motivate anyone. She never said thank you for all your hard work to anyone. There was a point that I felt like I was working my butt off for her to get all the stuff done she had asked. I was working a crazy amount of overtime also since we were losing sales associates so quickly. I truly believe it was because of the assistant manager.
Eventually, I was so fed up with the job that I was working so hard and didn’t even get much of a raise that final year I worked there. On top of that, my assistant manger blamed me for telling one of the sales associates that she thought the sales associate was a lazy worker. I never said anything to the sales associates like that. At that point, I felt like there was no hope in work getting better so I finally quit. I found out later that the other supervisor was the one that told the sales associate the assistant manger thought she was lazy but no one ever told her that. I just took the blame since the other supervisor was still working there after I left. It is ashamed that my assistant manager did not realize how she was acting and would just complain when everyone was not working as hard but it was because she was not motivating them in a way to reach the expected goals like the path-goal theory suggests.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.