Archived I'm looking to get promoted to Electronics TL. Getting a lot of mixed signals. What are my chances?

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Note: I know what you're thinking: holy crap, this guy wrote a lot! I know. I only ask that you give it a shot. I'm an okay-writer so it shouldn't be too painful to read, I promise!

Part I: The Popular TM


Hi folks, first post here. I'm an Electronics TM at one of the Canadian stores. I've been there, in that position, since Plan-o-rama. (Pre-store opening, about 7-8 months ago.) I'm a 25 year-old guy who has completed all of a BA except for one credit. The short version of that story is, I burned out hardcore and absolutely needed to get away from school for a while, despite being so close to finishing. I'm going to complete the degree eventually, within the next year or two. (I mention my education because the Target Canada website explicitly says that having any university degree basically qualifies you to be an ETL even if you have no retail experience.)

Anyway, I didn't have a ton of work experience prior to this job, but I've been getting loads and loads of positive feedback. Guest feedback is great, one even called back to tell the LOD I gave her the best customer service she's ever had. I have great relationships with my Hardlines ETL, our AP person, (up here we only have one as opposed to a whole team,) the Softlines ETL, almost all the TLs in all departments, and most of my fellow TMs as well. Unfortunately our Store Manager is fairly new and is kind of a stand-offish guy, so I think he's probably indifferent towards me at this point.

Now, I certainly have my weaknesses, and I've made a couple of moderate-level mistakes in my time at this job, but nothing too serious. Overall, I'm the guy who's virtually never late, who's never called in sick, who almost always comes in when they call me on my day off, who has better PK than my former or current Electronics TL, who has more red card signups than most of the cashiers, who taught our AP person how to do spider wraps, and who my colleagues already look to for expertise on virtually anything going on in the back half of the sales floor. I'm the guy who comes in early every Tuesday morning to set the New Release POGs, and am the only one whose schedule allows for this. I'm also the guy who was told by about a dozen people told that they naturally assumed I would take over when my original TL quit on us just a few weeks before Christmas. When he told me he was leaving, I emailed my ETL of HR the same day to express my interest in taking over, but no one ever explicitly acknowledged that letter, and there was never an internal posting for the job. Despite not hearing anything, I stepped up anyway and started managing the endcaps in and around my department, making sure things were as full as possible, properly labeled, and other such tasks that my old boss used to do himself. Eventually, management announced their decision to just restructure the leadership roles of their remaining staff and revealed that my new boss was...

Part II: The Unpopular TL

Here's the second part of this story: my current Electronics TL and the drama surrounding her. The new Electronics TL is almost universally despised throughout my store. Without getting into it too much, she just has a lot of personality quirks that really rub people the wrong way, and also, she's been fairly incompetent in both the TL positions she's occupied so far, as someone who's also been around since the start. One night when we were out drinking together, my Hardlines ETL confided in me that she is not a big fan of the new TL and that "she was not my first choice" for the role. In addition to that knowledge, a few leaders have been saying things to me like, "You really own your department," or, "We're looking to you to take on a sort of team captain role." It seems like I would have quite a bit of support for being promoted, but some unknown factor stopped that from happening.

So I guess the big question is, why did my current TL get this job? Well, some people speculate that management is deliberately putting her in a position where she's bound to make serious-enough mistakes that they'd be able to dismiss her. There's also the fact that they had at least one more person at the TL level than they needed anyhow.

Furthermore, there's an additional factor at play, which is the fact that one of my fellow Electronics TMs (who started a while after I did, but has quite a bit more retail experience in general,) also wants be team lead. This person is overall an asset to the department with the strengths they bring to the table, but, in my opinion, also has some serious weaknesses that ultimately make them unfit for the job of TL. When I asked my former TL if my colleague would be promoted, he told me very bluntly and with unwavering certainty that that was "never gonna happen." However, a couple of TLs told me another night over some brews that it will take forever for me to get promoted at this store, "because, well, err, your...colleagues would always see you as being the same level that you started as." Which seems like a weak excuse in general, but might be referring to the schnitzel storm my Electronics colleague would start if I were promoted over them.

So, having said all of that, my questions are as follows:

1) Given everything I've told you, what do you all think of this situation in general? What is management up to with this strange decision to hand over the TL role to such a problematic person?

2) This question could and possibly should be its own post, but what can I do in my department to stand out even more? I'm presently working on a project at home to create a really comprehensive product knowledge book that will have detailed comparisons of products we have a lot of that a very similar, like headphones and cameras. (I made up a bunch of comparison tables for the PS4 and XB1 when they launched, which have proved fairly useful so far.)

3) Do you think the TLs I spoke to are right in their feeling that I'd have to change stores in order to move up the chain?

Thanks SO much for your time and attention, I really appreciate any and all responses!
 

paidtosmile

Former Team Leader
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3) Do you think the TLs I spoke to are right in their feeling that I'd have to change stores in order to move up the chain?

You might not have to, but it shouldn't be out of the question. I'd actually like to transfer stores if I get an offer or if their current succession plan for me falls through, so I can start right away as a new leader without the awkward "oh he's our boss now" thing.

I don't know how much your peers and leaders have told you, or what you've picked up from this website, but once you pass your interviews and are on the "team lead bench", you're going to become a TL in whatever work center your STL wants to put you in. And there's a decent chance it'll be the first one to open up.. You could get offered Electronics TL, but you also might get offered GSTL, or Softlines TL. They want somebody who can be global and lead any team in the store.
There isn't a whole lot you can do to influence their decision on where they'd put you, either. You can brown-nose until you're the STL's favorite peon. You can tell her that you'd take anything that was offered, but you'd really like to go for electronics team lead if there's anything open in your district. But there isn't a guarantee you'd be an electronics team lead.
 
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Great points paidtosmile, thank you. My heart is definitely very much in Electronics, it's one of my biggest interests; however, there are definitely other roles I'd find reasonably interesting, like being a GSTL or even going into AP.

Also, transferring stores definitely isn't out of the question. It's just that it would break my heart to do it. I've grown pretty fond of my current team, (most of them,) and I'm not so great at keeping in touch, haha.
 
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paidtosmile

Former Team Leader
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Great points paidtosmile, thank you. My heart is definitely very much in Electronics, it's one of my biggest interests; however, there are definitely other roles I'd find reasonably interesting, like being a GSTL or even going into AP.
Definitely tell your STL or ETL that if promoting comes up! I told mine I'm open for everything but that my true passions were "this and this" and she took it seriously! My store is odd, though.

Transferring stores is just something could lead to you promoting faster, just because there are more stores and more head counts on the map. :)
 
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"I'm going to complete the degree eventually,"

I'f I had a dime for every time I've heard a TM/TL say that.....

Even on the off chance you actually truly will follow through with that statement, I hope you realize how many people say that and never actually do. At my old store, I can think of at least 10 long time TM's who always told me they were "going to finish college soon" or "go back to college soon".... I heard them tell me that every couple months for a couple YEARS.... none of them ever actually did it.

If you want Target to take you seriously, you need to come to them with a degree in hand. You simply can not get an ETL position by saying "Hey, I don't have a degree but I really really really will finish it this year...."

It simply doesn't work that way. Until you finish your degree, you might as well stop thinking about your plans to be an ETL. It simply won't happen.
 
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Have to agree with SoT on this one. Your degree doesn't mean much until you actually have it. Although it sounds like you are a top contributor, so keep up the good work!
 

buliSBI

Former Team Member
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I am not sure if the Canadian stores are just like the US stores, but if they are, its all about store politics. Becoming a TL takes time, hard work, and brown nosing. Yes you might have to kiss some butt.

In my experience, at first, I worked the entire front end knowing all areas, going beyond the call of duty to help guests, communicated well with my TLs and ETLs, and I was even working as the temp FATL. I was prompted to go to district TL round robin interviews to go for a position. Didn't get it. Pretty much all first time interviewees are not selected as a way to get TMs to work harder.

A year or so later, store leadership changed, and I again tried to put my name into the pot for TL consideration. Basically, they threw my consideration back at me. They basically said that everything I did before didn't matter, I had to prove myself to them. I did my own performance plans, took on extra duties without even being asked, communicated to all my TLs and ETLs. Yet they never interviewed me or another internal store TM for the rest of my days. Store leadership always brought in external hires or transfers for TL positions. I even tried for GSA, and yet they screwed me on that as well.

The only people that did get moved up in the store ended up being either they had family or were buddies with the Execs.
 
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Don't bother, it's Target Canada that has become an anchor (weighing down the corporation preventing actual growth in sales because of the amount spent in building them and those stores lack of profitable sales) and has led to a head count change, an organizational structural change and will lead to many jobs in lower management as well as ETL, becoming extinct. Walk away while you're still young and able to. This company needs a lot of help and if it doesn't change the way it thinks, advertises, and hires, it will be in dire straights. Can anyone say K-Mart? Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

AllRedEverything

Sr. TL, Backroom
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Hey paidtosmile, before I was promoted to my current role with Target, I was the electronics TL at an org chart 5 store in Canada. I'd love to share some tips if you'd like to DM me!
 
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