After spending over 3 years as both a department manager and an assistant manager at Home Depot I got to see up close several different styles of management and was exposed to many different types of decision making. And to be honest what I saw and experienced led me to go back to school as I decided retail management was not for me.
Managers who sat in their office and yelled and screamed in staff meetings very quickly soured morale and were tuned out. Managers who were out on the sales floor when they could and provided constructive criticism were listened to and respected. Managers who explained why they wanted something done differently resonated with me as opposed to the ones who just said "because I said so."
I was thrust into a management position with little notice. I went through a couple weeks of management training and then was thrown to the wolves. As time went on I took what I perceived as good and what worked and incorporated it into my management style. For example, if there was something that needed to be done and the person I assigned the task do had never done or was not comfortable doing it I went ahead and showed them what was needed and how to do the task. I never asked an employee to do something that I would not do myself.
I was empowered as a part time head cashier to make decisions and do management type things. When I became a manager one of the most important things I did was to empower the immediate people under me to make decisions and give me feedback. After I was promoted to front end supervisor I was allowed to interview prospective cashiers. I asked my head cashiers what they valued in cashiers and what type of people they wanted since they would be dealing with these people on a daily basis. When I made bad hires I listened to my people on where the deficiences were.
What I took away from my experience at Home Depot is that delegating works to a certain extent, but the way many managers at Home Depot operate is to over delegate. They delegate out of laziness as opposed to be more efficient and as a result bad decisions are made, promotions are given for bad reasons, and morale suffers. Feedback from employees is very important, but at the end of the day the manager has to take responsibility. In the end friendships and personal relationships should not play a part in hiring and promoting. It breeds ill-will and a lot of times under qualified people being in over their heads. Home Depot is not well managed in general at the store level and a lot of it is due to the way they train their managers. I had to reject many things they wanted me to do to get the respect of my employees. This caused me to butt heads with a lot of people above me, but I ran efficient departments and had the respect of most of my employees.
I was not a perfect manager and was still honing the craft when I decided that retail management and working 20+ hours every weekend was not for me and decided to return to school. And though there is not much about my time at Home Depot that I remember fondly I did learn a lot and the experience was invaluable. The bottom line is get input, take feedback, do whatever you can do to make the most informed decision you can in hiring matters and all administrative mattters, but in the end the decision is on you. Own it and stand by it. Making the same mistake twice is unacceptable in management.