Ahead of Ragtrader's annual Women In Fashion Edition, we asked retail leaders to discuss how their leadership style has changed during the pandemic. Here, Hush Puppies and Clarks Australia GM Charlene Perera details how she has adapted her leadership to navigate the challenges of COVID.
Trust and flexibility is really important.
The flexibility thing has been really key for me.
I have had to recognise that what works with my 9 to 5 and what works in those hours for me is not necessarily going to be right for everyone.
People were home schooling their kids and doing a full-time job, so mine might be nine to five and someone else's day might begin at 11am and then pick up a few hours in the evening.
I also think having really clear values and a really clear culture even though we're in 27, 30 different locations is really important.
I've really spent a lot of time in this period considering, 'what is role clarity?' and 'what does that look like across the team?' so that we can iron out any frustrations and kinks that might exist.
Then we can make sure that we've got a real pathway for the big ideas and clear things that we're trying to hit, that way everyone knows the direction that they're moving.
Otherwise I think working in isolation like this can be really deflating if you don't know what you're working towards - selling more shoes is just not enough.
I think the thing that I've really learned with my leadership is that I just need to be the master generalist.
The trust I have in my team is that they are the experts in their field and I have to lean on them to get the right answers and to be moving in the right direction.
I have to make sure that they feel like they are the experts in their field – which they are – and that I'm there to kind of lead and guide.