Bench advice

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Jul 15, 2013
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So recently I have been told that they would like me to ride the pine on the TL Bench.

My only opportunity was that they would like me to take on a more "Leadership role". This however, frustrates me. I am a PA in market in an AA Volume store, who a few months ago had his partner PA and CTL both quit, literally the same day, this came 6 months after they both asked me to become a PA. This left me as the only person to "Run" Market for a month, until we got a new 2nd PA and a CTL (If you can call him that, I also had to train both our new PA as well as the new CTL, and since having everyone quit I have helped get us two 95 Steritech visits.

Since then, and with the CTL's new expanded role, I have pretty much become the new "CTL" of old. When Vendor's or TMs have any questions or concerns. They almost always come to me, before anyone

What worries me is that my hard work is seemingly Invisible to my leadership. I have and never will be the most talkative at huddles, but I don't believe a leader has to be the loudest in the room, but the most observant as well as the most able.

My question is, how do I make my leadership in market (a place I believe my ETL's almost actively avoid), more obvious, without making myself feel like the talking head of a puppet.

With an abundance of stories from the past few months I definitely will be able to put together one hell of an interview, however.
 

doxie71

Former Perishables Assistant
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Jun 14, 2013
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I wish I knew the answer to that question. My CTL had promised me for months to get me on the bench and no matter how much I pestered it never happened. But yet 2 others in the store were put on the bench on the same day. I worked my ass off day in and day out and got zero recognition. Meanwhile I would see people who regularly slacked off getting all sorts of recognition. It was one of the main reasons I left.
 

ISign

Target Guest
Joined
Oct 14, 2013
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133
For me I was set up with interviews within like 4-5 months of starting back (I quit back in 2011 and just started back this January). My first thing though was letting them know what I was interested in. I told my now TL when I was interviewing that I was interested in promoting, as well as the ETL-HR whom did my second interview. I then followed that up after being hired 3 days later with telling my ETL-Log which communicated to my STL. This paired with ideas I brought to the store got me recognized pretty quickly. Although I will say having email also helps (signing team member..) Definitely letting them know that you're interested in the position, making sure metrics are kept up, even if that means trying to influence other departments, speak up at huddles even if its just recognizing things you witnessed such as someone selling an SRP or someone giving great service. If they see you doing things like that and still maintaining your area well then you should get interviews in no time. That is unless they just don't like you for some reason.
 

Mhugh220

Former ETL-Logistics
Joined
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Hats off to all PAs and CTLs for having one of the most stressful, under appreciated positions in the store.

Want to be a Target leader? Play the game. Every initiative has to be backed with enthusiasm. Own your section, make it known that you are Food. And the comments above are all good to follow too.

Much respect for your position. I hated food and most ETLs avoid it. My favorite TM was a PA so I brought him overnight to whip the food process into shape. This kid knew everything about the process, even better than his ETL. Should have been promoted
 
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Hats off to all PAs and CTLs for having one of the most stressful, under appreciated positions in the store.

Want to be a Target leader? Play the game. Every initiative has to be backed with enthusiasm. Own your section, make it known that you are Food. And the comments above are all good to follow too.

Much respect for your position. I hated food and most ETLs avoid it. My favorite TM was a PA so I brought him overnight to whip the food process into shape. This kid knew everything about the process, even better than his ETL. Should have been promoted
Bold for emphasis. Hit the nail on the head.
 
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So I am running into another problem now. This bench deal seems to be rapidly approaching, quicker than I thought. I am not sure if my Leadership team realizes just how much of a hand I have in keeping our Pfresh afloat.

As hard as I try to get my PA partner to put stuff in the SDA I usually only have 1 item that I know I didn't personally put into the SDA a day.

I have a new CTL (that was a BRTL before) that apparently doesn't believe in TPCs apparently, and whose Vendors would much rather come to me to see results rather than him/her. When he/she got moved to CTL I heard a few of the other TLs mentioning it was a way of performancing them out, and kind of became a joke as they all knew I was the one actually running the place.

I have also pretty much been the only reason we have had 3 Green Steritech visits in a row in Market. (I have seen the Sanitizer not changed for a whole weekend before). As well as the only one who seems to attempt, let alone complete weekly/monthly cleaning tasks.

I am starting to wonder if they are trying to wipe the slate clean and start with a new team in Market. Maybe they know exactly how far it could fall if I wasn't over there and that is a way to clean the plate, Our Sales have been up ~5-20% in all areas, since I have gotten promoted to PA, except dry, which is about +0.1% lbut I blame that partly on our nightmare transition.
 

APredux

APTL
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Jul 6, 2014
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So I assume you haven't interviewed for the bench yet? Sounds like you have some good answers for the TL questions they ask. Keep working hard, take ownership of those wins, and don't be afraid to use them during the interviews.
 

whippingboy

Produce Peon
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
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521
I'm interested in hearing how the interview goes. I'm in a very similar situation. Some advice I heard from another Food TL was to walk with the STL and ask him/her "how am I doing?" with demonstrating leadership. Just open the door for communication.
 
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I'm interested in hearing how the interview goes. I'm in a very similar situation. Some advice I heard from another Food TL was to walk with the STL and ask him/her "how am I doing?" with demonstrating leadership. Just open the door for communication.
I actually already have great communication with the STL of my store, and if I see any opportunities/problems she is usually the first person I go to, as I know my SF-ETL (having taken over Softlines) has more than enough to deal with now.

I see myself way more as a leader by example, than a leader vocally (although I can be), and I would MUCH, MUCH rather work WITH my team than THROUGH them.. This is how I view the definition of Team Leader, although I think target sees a Team Lead more as a Team Delegator.
 
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buliSBI

Former Team Member
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This is usually a sign and excuse that your leadership rather hold you back because you are too good at your current position, or they are too lazy to look for your replacement.

I was stuck in Foodave and the Front for almost 2 years being promised they would get me an interview for a TL position, or into another work center.
 
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This is usually a sign and excuse that your leadership rather hold you back because you are too good at your current position, or they are too lazy to look for your replacement.

I was stuck in Foodave and the Front for almost 2 years being promised they would get me an interview for a TL position, or into another work center.
This is one thing that scares, not if I am ready for a promotion, but whether or not my Work Center is ready for me to move on. I literally carry Market on my back (I think more than my superiors recognize) and I think they have no idea how bad the crash and burn could be if I am not over here as they tend to avoid/are scared of my work center.

I have had suspicions that they promoted my current TL to be performanced out, (other TLs held this same suspicion) although I have held the fort down well enough, I think it has become difficult for them to do.

I will say that it is probably very hard to find a good PA, and if they find them I could see them wanting them to leave them there. Although I am of the opinion that all CTLs should have previously been PAs.
 

buliSBI

Former Team Member
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I had a former GSTL report to me that my Execs didn't want me out of FoodAve because I had the most experience in the area, and they couldn't retain a FATL for more than a 6 months. And TMs refused to be cross trained in FoodAve. But then they would force me to stay in there.
 
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Well some awesome news, we had a sudden Jet visit by our group and while it was quick and painless I received HUGE recognition from our GTL, luckily right in front of our new DTL, *fist pumps*.

They had been bumping me up from when they wanted me to be "Bench Ready" from January, then to December, then now October, but I have some questions I'd like to ask...

While on the Bench are you moved to whatever TL position opens first or can you opt to wait? I just ask because I would want my first TL job to be in an area I know (makes sense right?). As a PA, CTL would be my first preference. I would not want to be picked out of market to be dropped into say a GSTL..

My Second would be what wiggle room do you have with scheduling if you do become a TL I am always moving at top gear, and am an extremely hands on worker. I would much, much rather work with my team, rather than through them, which is something that made me, and my partner/mentor PA (who has since quit), and every other Market team member despise him.

Since our MyTime Launch there are no more "Market Team Members" and it consists of just 2 PAs and a CTL who is almost always hardlines. This I believe is a terrible setup, it would be like having a GSTL as the FATL, or vice versa. With the loss of an actual dedicated "Market Team Members" I think it should allow the CTL to spend more time in Market, like all of it, similar to the FATL or the SBTL would in their area. Communication in our department has been our opportunity through two Different CTLs in the past year, and there are dozens of things a CTL has to deal with that almost all the other SFTLs don't.
 
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APredux

APTL
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Every TL has challenges that TL's in other areas don't have. You don't want to talk down about other TL's in any official capacity (obviously not a big deal here, we are here to vent after all). Leadership loves people who are positive and upbeat. Just look at all those bubbly ETL's, that's not a coincidence. Take ownership of your wins and don't be afraid to recognize opportunities, but for every opportunity make sure you have an actionable plan for that opportunity. If you're on the regular TL bench, they could very well ask you to fill any TL position, not just one in market. If they ask you to be a TL in another workcenter, will you say no? You might be surprised how fun it is to experience new challenges. Not to mention more money :)

If you're being recognized at the GTL/DTL level, you're going to get promoted. Just remember to stay positive and upbeat. They don't want to promote people who make excuses, they want to promote people who get things done. I am not saying you make excuses, just commenting on what I see in those who get promoted.

When it comes to schedule, every store and area is different. But I imagine if you know your business, and can speak to it, you should have more flexibility than a TL who just says "Well whatever." Don't be afraid to challenge your ETL or whoever does the schedule, just have legitimate reasons why.
 
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Every TL has challenges that TL's in other areas don't have. You don't want to talk down about other TL's in any official capacity (obviously not a big deal here, we are here to vent after all). Leadership loves people who are positive and upbeat. Just look at all those bubbly ETL's, that's not a coincidence. Take ownership of your wins and don't be afraid to recognize opportunities, but for every opportunity make sure you have an actionable plan for that opportunity. If you're on the regular TL bench, they could very well ask you to fill any TL position, not just one in market. If they ask you to be a TL in another workcenter, will you say no? You might be surprised how fun it is to experience new challenges. Not to mention more money

If you're being recognized at the GTL/DTL level, you're going to get promoted. Just remember to stay positive and upbeat. They don't want to promote people who make excuses, they want to promote people who get things done. I am not saying you make excuses, just commenting on what I see in those who get promoted.

When it comes to schedule, every store and area is different. But I imagine if you know your business, and can speak to it, you should have more flexibility than a TL who just says "Well whatever." Don't be afraid to challenge your ETL or whoever does the schedule, just have legitimate reasons why.
While it is fun to experience new and fun challenges, of course the market section of my store has been a place where TLs in my store have gone to die. Mostly, because they were put in that position with no prior experience in that work area. I try to help all I can, but in market you can tell whether someone will make it or not within a week or two.

At my store it is easily the most fast paced work center along with probably Flow, and has areas of volatility that most work centers do not need to deal with. I for one enjoy this, probably more than anything else. I actually thrive off of stressful situations and am at my best during such events. What I worry about is that I would be placed into a work center that I don't exactly have a passion for, such as Soft-lines, and would find myself bored, to be blunt.
 

APredux

APTL
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If you really want to stay in market more than anything else, don't be afraid to tell them that. They may ask you to go to another area, or they may listen to you and put you where you want. I know when I was interviewing they offered me two different stores. The one I actually applied for, and another store. I told them my expectations for either Store A or Store B (namely that I expected more money if they wanted me to go to Store B), and we went from there. I didn't completely rule out either store, just told them honestly what I felt about it. So if you end up on the bench, be honest about what you want, but you may have to be more open about where they want you.
 

sigma7

Former ETL-All the Things
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Just know that being a CTL is much more than just working in grocery. And if you are the all star PA, then that's a void you'll be leaving if you become the CTL. CTLs shouldn't be working the 6am shift on the regular. You'll more than likely have a closing night and weekend rotation. Those are usually non negotiable, although you might have some wiggle room with which night you close. Additionally, there's really no such thing as a CTL outside of super targets anymore. Technically, PFresh and GM stores have a sales floor TL who oversees grocery in addition to the other salesfloor TL tasks and responsibilities. Personally I feel that TL position should start at one pay grade above other starting TLs (start at an N13 as opposed to N11). It's a struggle to maintain your areas without the hours when 40 of your consumables hours are being spent in other areas since you'll be pulled to work in seasonal, domestics, wherever needs help...Out of my 40 hours a week, I might spend somewhere between 16-25 hours in consumables. One of those is a closing night and the other is maybe two mornings during the week. I have coverage on the weekends and am running the hardlines/grocery side of the floor. And with those 16-25 hours, only about 10-12 are used for anything other than back up cashiering, cafs, and returns. So I'm maybe spending 15 hours a week max making added value added contributions to consumables. And most of those 15 hours are building salesplanners and talkingt to vendors. Trying to find time to purge and PTM is like trying to get water from a dry well.

tldr: all TL spots will have their own challenges, but I will feel less accomplished most days than I ever did as a tm.
 
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Just know that being a CTL is much more than just working in grocery. And if you are the all star PA, then that's a void you'll be leaving if you become the CTL. CTLs shouldn't be working the 6am shift on the regular. You'll more than likely have a closing night and weekend rotation. Those are usually non negotiable, although you might have some wiggle room with which night you close. Additionally, there's really no such thing as a CTL outside of super targets anymore. Technically, PFresh and GM stores have a sales floor TL who oversees grocery in addition to the other salesfloor TL tasks and responsibilities. Personally I feel that TL position should start at one pay grade above other starting TLs (start at an N13 as opposed to N11). It's a struggle to maintain your areas without the hours when 40 of your consumables hours are being spent in other areas since you'll be pulled to work in seasonal, domestics, wherever needs help...Out of my 40 hours a week, I might spend somewhere between 16-25 hours in consumables. One of those is a closing night and the other is maybe two mornings during the week. I have coverage on the weekends and am running the hardlines/grocery side of the floor. And with those 16-25 hours, only about 10-12 are used for anything other than back up cashiering, cafs, and returns. So I'm maybe spending 15 hours a week max making added value added contributions to consumables. And most of those 15 hours are building salesplanners and talkingt to vendors. Trying to find time to purge and PTM is like trying to get water from a dry well.

tldr: all TL spots will have their own challenges, but I will feel less accomplished most days than I ever did as a tm.
How the current setup is for the new "CTL's" is broken. In my honest opinion. I have had discussions with different TLs at my store about how this new AE2014 is just not sustainable, and how there has to be changes for AE2015, if we can survive that long, or it literally is not worth it to anybody to work here.

The SFTL who is overseeing Consumables should be consumables for his whole 40 hours. At my store market alone is 33% of our sales, and that is not counting Pets/Paper/Chemicals/consumables. which easily puts that over 50% of the store sales.

To have one TL overseeing 50% of the stores sales, from outside of their workcenter 50% of the time, is just straight stupid.

If anything the "CTL" should be running Hardlines from Consumables, not running Consumables from Hardlines. A Leader should not be looking from the outside, in, they should be inside looking out.

Like I compared it before a SFTL running consumables these days is akin to a GSTL running both Food Ave and Starbucks. I have honestly thought about inquiring about applying at corporate instead, I have my degree and part of the recognition my GTL gave me was that he would like to see almost everything I have done incorporated into every PFresh store. If it actually happened and I wasn't promoted I would feel totally jipped.
 
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Dec 20, 2013
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On a previous post, I asked about getting on the bench. I have a Masters Degree for what its worth. I have 12 years retail experience this apri, some of which I served as a CSM/dept mgr. at Walmart. I held a job as a store manager at a dollar store and ultimately quit due to 65 hour weeks and poor salary. I feel like I have regressed in the retail career path. So here I am. I have been at target 2 years. Pretty good track record for gettting things done in my dept. I think I am well liked by leadership. I asked to be put on bench and they said there were a few ahead of me.I am also in a ULV store. Is it even worth waiting out to become a TL? I don't think quitting and applying to become an ETL is a feasible situation as I had an interview few years ago. I did not make it past the phone round. So I guess I am asking if I am done in retail as far as career progression and if not should I wait it out given the scenario given.
 
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Keep searching for better bein on the bench is another word for let us use you as much as possible then give it to another seen it happen it sucks how they treat people who think they are being groomed to leadership only to be used..
 
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What feedback have you gotten? Honestly, with that kind of resume, I'd assume you'd be dropped into at least a TL position upon being hired, if not Sr. It makes me think that there is some critical flaw that you're not mentioning, as most stores/districts I've been in don't really do the "Well, so and so has been on the bench/development longer, so they get dibs"....it's more about right person right place.
 
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At my store it doesn't matter how long your on the bench. They will give the job to someone not on the bench and promote someone else. I would look at opportunities at another store and apply for a TL position somewhere else.
 
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