It’s no secret that the UK retail market is struggling at the moment. Every month it seems that high-street names are adding to the woes with poor sales forecasts and warnings of job losses and store closures. This is the time when your leadership skills will be tested to the limits.

So, here are some quick tips to help guide you through times when staff will be looking to you for reassurance and direction.

1. Be honest with staff

It might be the worst performing month for the past five years, or there might be the threat of closures in the future. But that doesn’t mean you should stop communicating with staff. You need to tell them the situation. Let them know you are aware and be honest with them. The social media landscape of today means that bad news will be amplified and reported at some point and if they don’t find out from you, they’ll be angry.

Be sure that when you’re speaking to staff that you mention positive points. Profits might be down, but customer satisfaction could be higher. Or perhaps there’s a reason for poor profits such as a high investment project that has transformed the store.

2. Give feedback about the lessons you’ve learned

When your company isn’t performing as expected, there are always lessons to learn. Your staff need to know this and know that you’re taking feedback seriously enough that you are making changes for a positive future. At the same time, you need to be looking at your staff and ensuring that they’re taking on the lessons for a more profitable future.

Feedback should always be constructive. The hardest part of teamwork is realising that you succeed or fail as a team. Someone might have had a complaint made against them from a customer, but was it because there was no support when they needed it?

Create that team atmosphere of pushing hard to defeat your troubles, rather than blaming people for them. You’ll have a much more positive attitude going forward.

3. Share a vision for the future

You might feel like you want to get the next day over with without a crisis, but that doesn’t help tomorrow. You need to have a plan, goal and vision for how your company is going to be in the future. Then you need to share that vision with your staff.

Staff who know a plan are more likely to want to complete tasks related to that goal. This saves precious time, money and improves productivity. It also unifies all staff to one goal, instead of making them think of different plans and directions.