The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: How to Effectively Lead Dispensary Employees to Succeed

Leadership is the same anywhere

Whether it is a bookstore, a classroom, or a dispensary, leadership is the same anywhere.  Good leadership is what will make a good team into a great team, and bad leadership is what will break even the best of employees and potentially ruin the efforts of all your hard work.  Running a dispensary isn’t your typical retail job.  For many, it’s a dream job.

The Good

Here are some tricks of the trade to strengthen your business and those managerial muscles.  Good leaders are often born, but great leadership comes from practice and experience. So here are some elements that will help you focus on the positive attributes of your staff.

· Trust in your employees:  The interview process when you hired your staff already started this process.  From a wide range of applicants, the few that were selected were chosen for their blend of personality, knowledge, and most of all experience.  Trusting that your employees are there to work, and getting out of their way so they can do their jobs is key.

· Customer service:  You should strive to make sure that the needs of your staff are also taken care of, as well as customers. After all, happy employees who love their jobs are great for business!

· Keep their minds active: People are not cogs in an assembly line.  Especially in the field of cannabis cultivation and distribution, new things are happening everyday which should keep the interest of your employees.  After all it’s their passion for cannabis and what it can do that drew them to you in the first place.  So keep learning!

· Make fun of work!:  When work is interesting, it is engaging, challenging, and leaves workers feeling fulfilled.It’s even better when you can have fun at your job.  As the saying goes, if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life!

· Reward hard work with money and recognition: As great as it is to be a part of the experience of working in the cannabis industry, helping people everyday, and getting to learn about a growing field all the time, employees have lives too.  They should be compensated for their efforts and merit should be rewarded. Preferably with money!

The Bad

· Micromanaging: An overzealous and controlling manager can drive off good employees.  Be sure to be receptive of criticism from your staff.  They know what is going on. Leadership is not the same as authoritarian control.

· Getting in a rut:  Your staff are all experts at something they know and love.  If they are seen as nothing more than a collection of warm bodies collecting paychecks, you are missing the boat!  Put their passion to work in serving the public as well as being a champion for a cause.  This isn’t a typical retail job and should never be seen as such.

· Ego Trippin’: As with any leadership role, your job is to utilize the strengths and work through the weaknesses of your staff.  Sometimes egos get in the way and conflict will ensue.  Many times it is just a difference in personalities, but there are also times you should be wary that it isn’t just people’s pride getting bruised.  With communication and structure you can overcome these obstacles.

The Ugly

Problems with the trade.  There is a lot of controversy still surrounding cannabis.The fight to overturn a century of misinformation and ignorance about marijuana won’t be won overnight.  Don’t be lost in the politics.  This can be accomplished effectively in a few simple ways.

· Eliminating stereotypes: The cannabis industry has grown out of what not long ago was considered an almost criminal element.  Along with dispelling that ignorance, dispensaries are becoming more reputable and being seen as something much more beneficial.  Still, there are some who don’t share that viewpoint.  Keeping around the old stereotypes of “stoners” and substance abusers won’t do your reputation any good.

· Remember what works:  Sometimes we fall down seven times, but as long as we get up eight, we will be fine. Remembering the lessons you have learned from your victories and mistakes will give you a better road map into the future as to what works.  Sometimes this is harder to do than it sounds.  Keep working at it!

· Who are these people?: Know your staff and how to motivate them on an individual basis.  Nurture your relationship with your workers to create more than a team environment, but a family, a collective of people all passionate about their jobs and the services they provide.

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