Let’s Go Team

When a retail professional leads by example, everyone benefits

Derek Jenkins
Senior Vice President of  Target Stores Northeast Region
Springfield, PA
Power Play:
Manages the critical markets of New York, Boston, Washington D.C, and Philadelphia, where he leads a team of seven regional directors and vice presidents and 45 district managers

You oversee 450 stores that employ approximately 75,000 employees. How do you keep employees motivated to perform at their best?
I work to make every interaction with the team count. I tailor my approach for each team and individual. I find it effective to put my total focus on an individual and get to know them on both a personal and professional level. You also need to know your team members so you will know what motivates them. With a team, motivation comes from clarity of roles and expectations. As a leader, I try to make sure that I am always conveying a clear message. I ensure that every member of the team understands their role in the company’s success. This understanding helps to engage them in the team’s goals and objectives. Knowing exactly what is expected helps the team to focus on successful results. Acknowledging good work and asking for feedback on projects and my performance is how I keep the conversation with my team going. I feel that one of the most important things I must do is set a good example. If I am motivated to perform well and am dedicated to the company, I find that my team is also motivated to perform well and dedicated to the company.

What type of team building exercises do you incorporate to build leadership and responsibility in your employees, and how effective have they been?
I have found gaps analysis [a technique companies use to determine where they are and what they need to do to get where they want to be] to be especially successful with group dynamics. I use it to determine what each member of the team does well and to identify their opportunities. This helps me maximize the team’s talents and understand what resources I may need to fill any gaps. With group dynamics, it is important to understand performance skills and personal motivations to ensure that I can work through uncomfortable conversations. Uncomfortable conversations are important as they challenge me to be honest with my team as we work to achieve our goals. I feel that life balance is critical, so having fun both inside and outside of work is important. We have dinners and other social gatherings. This helps everyone to open up and often provides a venue for some of our most important discussions.

How consistent are you with training?

We constantly focus on helping team members perform better and on developing our leaders so they can drive innovation and change and effectively guide the organization through challenges. To help all team members build the skills they need for their current and future positions, we offer developmental opportunities that include a combination of online, classroom, and on-the-job training and mentoring.

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