Establish regular opportunities and events to enable others to share their successes and achievements. This could be as simple as team meetings where individuals talk about their successes and what others can learn from these, but add more weight to this by publicly recognising their success e.g. sharing achievements with your guests or entering them for awards. Highlight how individual contributions have had a positive impact on the business as a whole, and be open and optimistic about business performance.
Recognise and reward individuals, departments or the team as a whole to demonstrate how you value their successes. So if you were to ask your team if they believed you see the glass as half empty or half full, what response would you get?
This is part two of this week blog ‘Building Confidence’:
Limiting confidence just to your own abilities comes over as arrogance and failing to express confidence in the capability of others becomes a self-filling prophecy. People soon pick it up when you fail to trust or allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities. Lack of confidence will only lead to people not getting on with things off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you.
Encourage your team by assuring them that they have the skills and knowledge. If you really are unsure of somebody’s ability to deliver what’s needed reflect on what help and support they would need in order to achieve this and focus on that instead.
Look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. If they doubt their own ability encourage them to focus on what they are good at and where they do well. Then talk about what is holding them back and suggest ways of dealing with this.
Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement. Explain clearly the importance and significance of what they do. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed. Encourage team members to come up with their own areas of improvement and how they will achieve these. Recognise and reward when these improvements have been made even if things are not yet perfect!
Set out a clear vision of what you want to achieve for your business and what business success looks like. Paint a vivid picture that your team can relate to. Translate your overall strategy into meaningful direction. Involve the team and deciding on how this vision can be achieved; they are the ones who will need to implement the lion share and have first-hand experience of what works and what your customers want.
Target individuals and inspire them to take ownership. Set goals which are stretching but still achievable and demonstrate your belief in the likelihood of success and your confidence in your team’s ability.
Make statements to build hope, optimism, excitement and enthusiasm in others and demonstrate your own belief in and have high expectations for the success of a particular plan or strategy.
Demonstrate your trust in the team. Empower individuals and the team by giving them authority to make decisions and take action. Generate a climate of confidence by drawing attention to the strengths of the team and individuals and where they complement one another rather than dwelling on shortcomings.
While I was in one of our local supermarkets yesterday I asked a member of staff where I could find peanuts. I’d already been to the aisle clearly marked ‘Salted Nuts’ but not a nut in sight, nor a member of staff. So by the time I found this staff member I was already getting frustrated.
“I’m off duty” was the rather curt reply I got. “Oh. I’m sorry, well could you at least tell me where I can find someone to ask?” Big sigh…..”You’ll have to go to customer services”. Needless to say Customer Services was at the opposite end of the store!
The fact that this member of staff was in her uniform – to me, she represented the company – on or off duty. As a customer I will not distinguish the difference.
So what do your staff say about your brand when they are off duty?
How do they behave on their way to and from work, or at any time when they might be identifiable as one of your team?
What impression do they give when coming into and out of work? E.g. how they drive, the cleanliness of their car, etc?
How welcoming, approachable or helpful are they towards your guests even when off duty?
How much responsibility do they take for things that need attention even if this isn’t their job e.g. attending to a guest if they need help?
What are they saying about you or your guests in the staff room?
Where do they go on their breaks, and what impression do they give if visible (e.g. smoking by the back door)
What are they saying when within earshot of your guests; either to each other or on the phone?
What are they saying about you or your customers on social media?
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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,
As I work on my new on line leadership coaching programme for hoteliers I was asked today if you can train leadership. Good question; and brings us back to one of those perennial questions – are leaders born or made?
According to extensive long term research carried out by CHPD (for whom I work as an external leadership consultant) a proportion of leadership performance is influenced by personality, values, beliefs and attitudes, which are either inherent or formed relatively early in life. A second component is the person’s skills and experience, which although can’t change over night, can be developed over time. But by far the biggest proportion of leadership performance is determined by our behaviours, which are the easiest component to change.
So can you train leadership? Yes, I believe you can. Providing you identify the behaviours needed and then work on developing those behaviours that will give the biggest impact on a person’s performance.
These might not be where the person is weakest. Rather than plugging a gap to develop a weak spot (unless it is having a detrimental impact) and end up with mediocre performance, it may be better to capitalise on a person’s strengths and develop those instead. (I think back to my recent interview with Peter Thomson – “people will never consistently do who they aren’t”.) Then set up teams where individuals complement one another. Think of a football team; if someone showed an aptitude to do well in goal, you would be more likely to develop this skill rather than try to develop this person in every other aspect of playing football; what you are more likely to do is develop their goal keeping skills.
One of the first things to do in changing someone’s behaviours is making them aware – being aware of what they are doing, and the impact this has (see article on feedback), then help them identify how to build on positive behaviours and change negative behaviours.