Category Archives: Hospitality Leadership A – Z

Setting Goals

In the A – Z of hospitality leadership G is for setting goals.

 

 

Do your team know what you expect and how you’ll measure this?

In the article on Communication I talked about the need to let people know what is expected of them, and how their contribution fits into the bigger picture.

So how does this translate into day to day leadership?

It means communicating your longer term goals; what do you want to achieve over the next 5 – 10 years?  Then break this down into goals or objectives for the year ahead, for the business as a whole, for the departments, and on an individual level.

This enables your team to know what they are each responsible for. And when everyone achieves all their goals the department as a whole should achieve their goals. This seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many businesses don’t make this connection!

These goals need to include some KPIs or metrics. Most of us are familiar with SMART goals, which are a good starting point.

 

Here SMART goals are explained; however I’ve added in a few more criteria to make goals that bit more robust and more likely to be achieved.

 

S

Be as SPECIFIC as possible.  What will they see, hear or feel when the goal is achieved.  The more vivid the image the more powerful it will be. Can you easily explain it to someone else?  I want you to increase sales is not specific; how much more sales, in areas, at what profit margin, by what date……?

As well as being specific, the goals you set must be STRETCHING.  Is the goal something that will get the business further forward, but still provide an element of challenge?

 

M

Goals must be MEASUREABLE so you can all quantify their progress and track it.  What MILESTONES will you set?

Any goal you set must be MOTIVATIONAL too – What will achieving their goal get them?  How well does it fit in with their values and what’s important to them?  Does it inspire them?  Will it give them a sense of accomplishment on achievement?  If not, then the chances of them achieving it are slim!

 

A

Getting a balance between being stretching and motivational and at the same time being ACHIEVABLE is key.  Unobtainable goals will have a negative impact.  But it is important that they are ACTIONABLE by them, not dependent on others’ actions out of their control.

It is also important that the goals you set are AGREED with the individual. If they don’t agree with the goal, maybe because they think it’s unachievable, or not part of their job you will get reluctance and the goal will be put to the bottom of their priority list.

 

R

How RELEVANT are the goals to them, their role and the business as a whole?  A goal that is incompatible will mean inevitably that something will have to give.

Once you are both happy with their goals ensure you RECORD them.  Then keep the goals as a focus of your review process. If they are working on things which do not contribute to their goals ask why.

 

T

When wording your goals specify what you are moving TOWARDS rather than what you want to avoid. Our brains find it difficult to process negatives, so by concentrating too much on what you want to avoid actually focuses the brain on this rather than what you want instead.  So, for example, if a goal is to reduce complaints, focus on the reaction you want to get from your guests instead.

Finally, goals must be TRACKABLE (including TIMESCALES) so you can review at any time how well your team are on track.  We all know the results of leaving everything to the last minute, so set some specific timescales when you’ll review progress, and schedule these into your diaries.

 

Join me on my recent tele seminar where I share the answers to the questions I’m asked most often by my leadership coaching clients.


F is for Feedback

In the A-Z of hospitality leadership F is for Feedback

The giving and receiving of feedback is probably one of the most vital skills in management.

 

According to Ken Blanchard

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions”

People need to know how they are doing in order know what to keep doing and what needs improving, and how.  For many employees it is a case of ‘No new is good news’, as they only get to hear if things go wrong.  Feedback is not only key for improving and perfecting performance, but – done in a constructive way – is highly motivational. Let’s face it; if you were doing something that constituted poor performance, was annoying, or let others down wouldn’t you like to know? And equally if you were doing something really well that made a difference to others and to the business, wouldn’t you like to know it was recognised?

Feedback starts with the impromptu “thank you, well done” but that on its own does not tell people enough to sustain or improve performance. To be effective feedback must let people know what specifically was good or bad, what difference it made and how it can be built upon or improved.
One way to do this is by using a very simple model:

S A I D

Standard

When giving feedback, particularly on poor performance, it’s useful to know what you are benchmarking this against. If people don’t know what is expected of them, it is very easy to get defensive.  So establish the standards you expect and communicate these.  You may not always need to refer to these during the feedback process, but be mindful of these as you give the feedback.

Action

What is the action they performed?  Emphasis is on their actions, not on your interpretation of it.  So you are feeding back what you observed or heard, not on their intentions, their personality or their character.  Limit the number of actions you comment on a level they can handle – far better to give feedback on one key action that they can digest and build on to make a difference, than ten things which leaves the message diluted (and invariably leaves them demotivated).  Because this is based on fact it is less likely to be challenged. Link back to the standard if necessary to highlight where people have exceeded or fallen short.

Impact

What impact did their actions have on the result?  This can include positive or negative impact on the end result, or on the process itself e.g. the amount of effort needed on their part to achieve the result, or the impact on others, etc.  When giving praise it is so easy to say to someone ‘that was really good, well done’ without saying why it was good or what made the difference this time compared with previous occasions.

Development

How can they build on this for the future?  Remember, the purpose of feedback is to enhance performance and motivate.  So this last stage is important to determine what happens next e.g. develop to make it even better next time around, to correct a mistake or to perfect a process.  Put the emphasis on what is missing rather than what is wrong – building on strengths or positives is far more likely to engender enthusiasm. Using open questions, ask the individual how they think things can be developed or built upon.  This will help to gain buy in and you may be surprised by the options they suggest.

Here are the three key situations for giving feedback within the workplace.

1.    When all is going well – feedback and praise.
2.    Mixed performance – feedback mixed with positive and corrective action.
3.    When all is not well – feedback to address under-performance.

This model works equally well in all three.

Feedback is most effective when it is given as soon after the event as you can. But sometimes you may be better off delaying until the need of the shift or day. Take into whether the timing is appropriate for the individual to take on it board (e.g. avoid times when they are under tight time pressures, or about to start something for which they need total focus).  Consider your mood, e.g. if you are annoyed at seeing poor performance do you need time to cool off.  Do you need to wait until you can take them away from their workplace for privacy; as a general rule praise in public, reprimand in private.

Consider your motives before giving feedback i.e. what do you want the end result to be? Be prepared for their reaction, and how you will respond. But be direct, don’t sugar coat the message so it gets lost. Give praise where it is due, but when it’s not, make it clear that you need to see improvements or changes Preserve the other person’s self esteem by delivering bad news in a non-critical way, and concentrate on your pitch and tone so that valuable information is not seen as a complaint, criticism, whinge or nag.

Given in a constructive way feedback can not only improve performance but can raise morale, build rapport and promote initiative.  It also opens the door for your team to provide you with some feedback too.

More on feedback in Leading for Peak Performance. Find out more here.


E is for Empathy

In the A- Z of leadership E is Empathy. Putting yourself in another’s shoes.

 

Empathy is really understanding the other person’s perspective, position and feelings. It is the ability to ‘step back’, and achieve a detachment from our own emotions, and is essential for building trust, rapport and effective relationships.

It involves listening and understanding – not necessarily agreeing (which is different) – to the other person. Listening without judging.

As a minimum a good leader asks open questions to encourage and understand the views, feelings and attitudes of others, and reflects back to show they understand or to clarify. But a good leader will do this without being judgemental of others’ views even if these conflict with their own, and will be open to differences in opinions and perspectives.

 

Empathy goes beyond what is said, it is also demonstrated via your tone and body language. A critical or sarcastic tone will not encourage someone to share their views; neither will raised eyebrows, scowling or defensive body language.

 

Active listening is key, show your interest, ask probing questions (in a non-judgemental way) to ensure understanding. Aim to understand how the other person feels, why they see things as they see things as they do (so bring out any underlying assumptions) and to discover what they want to achieve.

 

Seek first to understand’ is one of the seven habits described by Stephen Covey in ‘The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People

 

Ask for feedback on your own behaviour so you can use this information to strengthen your relationships with your team. Be open with your own feelings and views too to enable your team to see things from your perspective, and by sharing your views you will encourage others to do the same.

Aim to develop a culture of trust and openness where your team can speak out knowing they will be heard and without fear of criticism.

Why is empathy important?

  • When you understand others’ perspectives it can help in the way you sell ideas to them and gain buy in (as well as the way you sell to customers and suppliers).
  • If people know they are listen to it helps to build trust between you and your team
  • It creates a more open and honest environment where you will get to hear of issues and concerns before they become a problem
  • Your team feel able to state their true ideas, feelings and beliefs maximising their contribution.
  • Empathy is also important in dealing with guests and customers, so demonstrating the skill with our teams will act as a role model

 

Building relationships with your team is key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will is covered in detail in my new Leading for Peak Performance programme,


D is for Development

In the A-Z of hospitality leadership D is for Development

 

One question to ask yourself is “Could I honestly say I am tapping into 100% of the potential of my team?” If the answer to this is no, what do you need to be doing to tap into that potential?

 

We need to be able to develop people to be the best that they can. This gets buy in, it helps contribute to the business, and boosts their confidence, which means they are going to do a better job ultimately. The industry has loads of examples of people who have moved up through the ranks. So give people that opportunity. When you see somebody’s strengths in a particular area, think about how you can tap into that, how you can develop them.

 

Not everyone will want to ever have any more responsibility, or to be doing anything different from what they are doing now, but development is not just about promotion. Even for the people who are very content with the job that they are doing, is there an opportunity to develop their role just to make it that little bit more interesting for them. If they have been doing the same job for three or four years, and doing it in the same way all of that time, don’t you think they might welcome just a little bit of change in the way that they do it or what they do. Plus it give you some flexibility within the team and promotes teamwork if people understand each other responsibilities.

 

So identify your objective. Is it because you want to give that person an opportunity to develop their skills to move on? And, maybe, ultimately leave your hotel to work somewhere else, because they outgrow the job. Believe me, if they think they are better than the job, they will move in any case. So, at least this way they can move on knowing that you did everything to help their career and help their development. And that’s going to be a great advertisement when bringing in people to replace them; or help bring on people in more junior positions to replace that person.

 

Identify your objectives for that person’s development in terms of how it brings them on to do a better job where you are. What is it that you would like them to do that little bit better? Or what role might be the next logical step for them? What role might suit them ultimately? Have clear objectives and identify how it is going to contribute to the business or develop that individual.

 

Consider the range of options there are for developing that person, and what might suit both the topic and the individual’s learning styles. Development is not just putting someone on a training course. It could be assigning a mentor, working in other departments, shadowing others, setting them practical assignments e.g. setting up a promotion, working on a particular sales drive, reviewing rosters, improving standards within the business. Ensure they can see how it contributes to the bigger picture, and it does not get in the way of them achieving their core responsibilities and KPIs.

Involving people in day to day decision making can also help stretch them. When they ask for guidance and decisions rather than giving them all the answers, bounce it back to them and ask for their views. Involve them in decisions by asking for their views; to analyse the pros and cons of different options, and put forward their recommendations.

 

Development activity needs to be structured in such a way it allows the employee to learn rather than being thrown in at the deep end. If they are thrown in at the deep end they are probably not going to learn anything; in fact the opposite; it could shatter any confidence they had in the first place.

 

So take time to sit down with each of your team and plan their development to build on their strengths and stretch them. Identify their long-term aspirations, where do they think they can be contributing more, what they enjoy, what else they’d like to get involved with, how they would approach things differently. People will generally put more effort into the things they enjoy, and consequently make a better job. And generally the better people are at things, the more they enjoy them.

 

Failure to develop your team is such a waste, and the chances are that if you ignore their full potential they will go and utilise it somewhere else.


C is for Communication

In the A-Z of Hospitality Leadership C is for Communication

 

This is probably one of the areas that gets most criticism from staff of their managers and organisations as a whole. People hate being left in the dark.

 

There’s nothing more frustrating, and demotivating for staff than lack of communication and being kept in the dark. Unless people know what’s expected of them and what’s going on you’ll end up with an unhappy team, and ultimately an impact on performance levels and increased staff turnover.

 

Hopefully the communication starts with a thorough induction, which includes not only an outline of their job and what’s expected of them, but how their contribution fits into the bigger picture, the values and culture of the business and an insight into what happens in other parts of the business.

 

Your staff need to be kept up-to-date all the time.  They need to know what is going on in the business, and how this will affect them through daily briefings and regular team meetings. They need a forum to put forward and share their ideas and receive updates on the business performance as a whole.

 

The value of regular one to ones should never be underestimated and provide an opportunity for feedback on how they are doing, and to let them know their contribution is important and valued. These should be two way, provide an opportunity to ask for help if needed or for talking about their on going development.

 

And finally don’t forget the value of the impromptu communication. This might be anything from a simple “thank you everyone” at the end of a busy shift, to the ’emergency briefing’ when something big hits, or change is imminent.

 

Communicating throughout any change is vital. Few people like change when it could have an impact on the status quo, or threatens the security of their job. Introducing new equipment could give rise to concerns over how well they may pick up the new procedures or even that it might do them out of a job; changes in management or ownership could make people nervous over the future of the business. So whatever changes are afoot tell your team what you can; what it means to the business, and to them as a team or individually, and how it will impact on their jobs.

 

If you don’t give people the facts, they’ll soon make it up!

 

Communicating with your team is key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will be covered in detail in Leading for Peak Performance Foundations of Leadership Programme


B is for Buy in

In the A-Z of hospitality leadership B is for Buy in

How often have you been told to get on with a task with no idea why you should do it and therefore either carried out the task, but to the minimum standard, or worse still simply avoided it altogether?

At the very least for staff to do anything with any degree of commitment they need to understand the reasons why – why does sit need doing in the first place and why them. Identify reasons or benefits that are personal to them, not just how it helps the business.

Better still ask for their input in what needs to be done or in the way it has to be done. You might be thinking “well if it is a new law or company policy it wont be open to discussion”. True, what has to be achieved may not be open to discussion, but the way it is achieved might well be.

Let’s say you have a new piece of health and safety legislation to introduce. It’s the law, so it is not negotiable.  But because it is the law, all the more reason why you cant have people deciding to ignore it. You need that buy in. Threats might work, but not very effectively.

What is negotiable is the way it can be achieved. By asking for people’s ideas, recognising their experience and knowing the work better than e=anyone, they will often come up with the best way to implement something that on the face of it is just extra workload. The greater the level of involvement in the process and decision-making; the greater the level of buy in.

And if they come away thinking it was their idea, the more likely you are to see it done with some degree of enthusiasm, commitment or pride.


The A to Z of hospitality leadership ~ A is for Attitude

Welcome to the first in my A-Z series of hospitality leadership.

A is for attitude. Your attitude.

 

It’s easy to criticise our staff’s attitude, their enthusiasm for the job, the way they support their colleagues, how they talk to your customers. But how much of this stems from the example you set?

Attitude is one of those things it’s sometimes a little difficult to quantify. What we can quantify are the behaviours – what people see or hear – that suggest our attitude.

So to give an example:  You have to announce a change in some internal systems that may not be well received because they involve a little extra work for everyone, including you. The tone of your message – what you say and how you say it – focuses on the negatives and uses words and phrases that emphasise the extra work involved, but make no mention of the benefits and the reasons why. You also stress that you are also being affected. This could easily infer that you have a negative attitude to the changes.  Net result? They will too. Conversely if you focused on the benefits these changes bring and your confidence in the team that they can deliver your attitude will be perceived as being positive.

Your attitude is conveyed in all that you do – how you interact with guest (and what you say about them behind closed doors), your support for management decisions, the enthusiasm at which you approach challenges, how receptive you are the staffs’ ideas and suggestions, even down to your personal organisation and personal presentation.

Always ask yourself – what attitude am I conveying , and is the example I should be stetting for the team?

Involving your team in problem solving is key to effective leadership, and the skills needed will be covered in detail in my tele seminar: Leading for Peak Performance on 19th October.