Charting a Path to Success: An Interview with Our Merchandiser Manager

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Author : Kris
Update time : 2023-10-26 14:14:31
So let's begin! Thank you for taking the time for this interview on your weekend. Your current position at the company is the head of the follow-up department. So, the first question, when did you join the company?
Rachel: September 2020.
That was right at the beginning of the pandemic, just these past three years.
Rachel: That's right. When I first arrived that year, I had just given birth to my child, so I took some time off to care for my baby. When my child turned eight months old, I returned to work.
It's quite challenging, you know, taking care of a child and balancing work at the same time.
Rachel: Well, it's manageable. Taking care of a child can be tiring, but work is fine.
Well, on that note, do you think that if a woman starts a family and then returns to the workforce, she might face more challenges?
Rachel: I think I've been doing okay. You see, some people might question your abilities, but not everyone. Plus, our company is primarily female-oriented, and our boss is very understanding. In fact, I've been here for three years now, and it's crucial to have someone who understands you, especially for emotional support. As a mother, many things may not be as challenging as they seem, but mothers need that kind of mental support.
So, your current position is the head of the follow-up department. Could you evaluate your promotion speed and the process of your promotion?
Rachel: I'm more of a "go with the flow" kind of person and don't actively seek out promotions. It mainly depends on the opportunities provided by my boss. Although my personality isn't particularly assertive, I get along well with everyone, and people are willing to communicate and collaborate with me, which creates a positive atmosphere.
Additionally, because my work involves aligning with some of the boss's ideas, compared to others, who might not fully grasp the boss's intentions, I can understand what the client truly wants to achieve.
What do you think of Cindy (the boss)?
Rachel: Actually, sometimes when the boss talks to us, she tailors her discussions based on your level of understanding and the nature of your work. For example, I'm mainly interested in work-related topics. If she delves into more advanced concepts, I might only be able to grasp the surface and how it relates to my job. In reality, some of those deeper concepts are beyond my immediate comprehension, you know? She used to mention that I should look at those things from a holistic perspective, but in truth, it's impossible to do so at the time.
With my own set of clients to manage and the people I have to guide, they already consume all of my energy, leaving me with no room to consider what she's talking about. However, I do think about the topics she discusses, identifying which ones are relevant to my work. After I've carried out the specific tasks, I provide feedback to her and share my thoughts, and she offers further input.
This is a highly effective communication approach.
Rachel: Yes, when you communicate with the boss, her perspective is different from yours. I understand that what the boss says may not always be right, but there's definitely a reason behind what she says.
Understood. So, what about communication with the team members you lead in the order tracking department? Do you have any additional techniques for communicating with them, or perhaps a particular communication style you use?
Rachel: Actually, I feel that I have a relatively easygoing style.
Haha, yes, I think you have a very high level of affability.
Rachel: I'm gradually working on improving this aspect. Even though I don't tend to force others to do things, sometimes, when it's a matter of principles, you have to let them know; otherwise, they might encounter the same issues again. So, in terms of communication with colleagues now, I'm also inspired by Cindy. It depends on each person's personality. For example, with some colleagues, if you don't emphasize their mistakes every time, they might not work on improving. On the other hand, some colleagues might need more encouragement, so you have to motivate them.
So, the next question is, in your role as a department supervisor, what do you think is the biggest challenge associated with this position?
Rachel: I would say it's still communication and also how to help others grow faster.
As a guiding role.
Rachel: Yes, actually, what is it called? First of all, I'm not a very aggressive personality myself. If you want to push others, you have to have the strength yourself.
So, now I feel a greater sense of responsibility than before. In the past, it was mainly about doing my own work, but now I have to consider more - the boss's requirements, when I need to reach a certain level, what level my team members should achieve, and what performance goals need to be met. There are a lot more objectives to accomplish now.
Have you encountered significant conflicts while communicating with others?
Yes, there are conflicts from time to time. It's natural for people to have emotions. But even if there are conflicts, it's okay. We resolve issues, and our colleagues in the company are quite straightforward. Personally, I don't overthink things, and even if there are disagreements, we eventually shake hands, make amends, and continue working.
Sure, next question: What do you find most interesting about your job?
Rachel: The most interesting part? I would say it's the clients.
Oh? That's an unexpected answer.
Rachel: Yes, it's about dealing with clients. Sometimes we may complain about them, but at other times, we find these clients quite interesting. When clients say, "You're great." "Your team is great." it's a moment of happiness, and it feels different. After all, they are strangers, miles away, and you work together, do a good job, and they trust us, so they often give us encouragement. Well, foreigners tend to be more generous with their encouragement.
I see. We are in the foreign trade business, and our clients are mostly foreigners. Are there any special techniques for communicating with foreign clients?
Rachel: Actually, it's all about communicating with each client multiple times, and gradually you can discover their personality traits. Then, you use different approaches to handle them. For example, when Cindy communicates with clients, it's really different from other bosses. She talks about the client's history, how they founded their company, and their characteristics. From these basic details, we can understand the client's personality to some extent, which is very helpful for future communication. In fact, we keep detailed documentation about clients when we hand over work responsibilities.
One last question, what are your expectations for the company's future?
Rachel: I definitely hope the company continues to thrive. The boss is making some adjustments, and with the easing of the pandemic, we may be able to visit clients in the future. The company is also planning to expand its workforce and engage in more developmental work. I hope the company gains more clients and achieves better performance in the future.
 I suddenly have an interesting question. You joined the company in September 2020, right in the midst of the pandemic. Now that the pandemic is easing, do you see any noticeable differences between these two phases in our foreign trade business?
Rachel: Well, compared to the time during the pandemic, it's actually tougher now.
Even more challenging, surprisingly.
Rachel: Yes, because now, with the easing of the pandemic, it has become even more challenging. Our company is based in Wuhan, and the support for foreign trade enterprises in Wuhan isn't as significant compared to other regions. In other places, there's more support for foreign trade enterprises. Nowadays, many foreign trade companies are actively participating in international exhibitions and conducting on-site promotions. In fact, many of them are investing money into these efforts, and everyone has become more proactive.
The market has become more competitive.
Rachel : Yes, so we need to be more proactive than before. That we might have been making phone calls before, now we need to be more proactive and active with our clients than anyone else.
Thanks Rachel for sharing.
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