Tag Archives: Leadership

Building Confidence

building confidenceBuilding confidence with team members as they return to work

As your team return to work, you may need to do some confidence building. If they’ve been on furlough or working from home for some time, the may need some reassurance once they return, either to their old duties, or new tasks which are now part of their role.

Whether it’s because they’ve not done something for a while, or you’re introducing something new or a different way of doing things is bound to feel a bit clunky to begin with.

And when you need to make changes to the way they do things it takes even longer to get used to the new way.

Human nature says we’ll always take the path of least resistance, so the slightest obstacle will send people back to their old comfortable way of doing it.

However, sometimes there can be a real reluctance even to have a go. There might be a number of reasons for this. But often it’s just down to a lack of confidence, especially if the new way of doing things involves a degree of risk or difficulty, at least from the employee’s perspective.

And longer term a lack of confidence will stop them getting on with tasks off their own bat, which can be both frustrating and draining for you, and have a knock on effect for colleagues and customers alike.

Here are 7 ways you can build confidence in your team members, and prevent this happening in your team:

1. Play to people’s strengths.

It’s a lot easier for you to allocate responsibility for tasks where people already excel, and the likelihood is when they are good at that task they’ll be confident and probably enjoy it.

You might need to look for the capabilities in others that they themselves may not see and help them to see these for themselves. Focusing on strengths not only boosts confidence, it enables people to shine and excel. It means complementing potential shortcomings of others in the team, contributing unique value in the eyes of colleagues and customers.

That doesn’t mean to say you don’t develop people in other areas, but avoid the temptation to make everyone mediocre at everything.

2. Establish expectations

People hate not fully understanding what’s expected of them; it can leave them hesitant and fearful of making mistakes.

It’s inevitable that some ways of working and duties will have changed. If there are duties that used to be part of their role that are now less of a priority, explain why this is. If these were tasks they did well or took a particular pride in doing, be sensitive to how you handle this, so they don’t get the impression that their previous efforts were not appreciated.

If it’s a new task ensure they understand the significance of the task, and set a clear and simple objective, and what controls such as budget, deadline, when and how any review will take place. Bear in mind, it may take them longer to begin with as people get into the task.

3. Empower

People soon pick it up if you don’t trust them or are reluctant to allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them doubting their own abilities.

Demonstrate trust by letting go. No one wants their boss breathing down their neck the whole time, and it’s frustrating for everyone when team members have to get sign off for everything.

Cut the red tape and give your team the freedom to do what they think is in the best interests of the customer.

Set clear boundaries so they understand the exceptions and when you really do need to be involved.

3. Give flexibility

Allow each of your team to adapt and adopt their own style and let them bring their own personality to the role, particularly when dealing with customers.

If they know the end result you’re looking for they often come up with better ways to get the same result.

4. Develop ‘experts’

Give ownership for areas that require specialist knowledge, so this team member becomes the go to person for this. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise, and encourages continuous improvement. This in turn can have an impact on your customer experience, when specific knowledge is required to gain the customer’s confidence.

This is not only good for people’s development it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.

5. Reassure

Let them know you are there to support them, and to come to you with later question, concerns or suggestions. Reassure them of your commitment to their safety and ongoing support.

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.

Build confidence by providing positive feedback and recognition. Offer plenty of support and encouragement.

6. Learn from mistakes

When things go wrong this can knock people’s confidence. Foster a supportive culture where people can learn from their mistakes, rather than be blamed.

Encourage everyone to come forward when things haven’t gone to plan, or when there’s been a near miss. Then focus on how to avoid this happening again, not just for that team member, but for anyone else in the team.

Ask your team member(s) for their suggestions. Nine times out of ten they’ll work out for themselves the best way to avoid a repercussion.

Recognise when any improvements are made, even if things are not yet perfect!

7. Celebrate and reward success

Celebrate success so you encourage more of the same.

Establish regular opportunities and events to enable others to share their successes and achievements. This could be as simple as daily briefings 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. Recognise and reward individuals, departments or the team as a whole to demonstrate how you value their successes.

In summary

Building confidence in your team starts by demonstrating your trust. 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.

Related content

Blog: Learn from mistakes 

Video: How people learn

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Power to the People

I’ve just returned from speaking at the Hospitality.next conference in Athens.freedom - empowerment

In my presentation I shared my 7 low-cost strategies to wow customers and keep them coming back for more.

I asked the audience for their feedback on which of the 7 strategies they felt they need to focus on most to improve their customers’ experience.

Nearly a third (32% to be precise) said that devoting more time and effort to inspiring and engaging their team would add the most value.

This reflects the findings of a recent study by Gallup that indicated 63% of employees worldwide are “not engaged”. And in the UK they reported that 26% of employees are actively disengaged, meaning they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity.

Imagine what impact that can have on customers.

Of course there are many ways to engage your team but during my presentation I homed in specifically on empowering teams.

This naturally starts with recruiting the right people (focusing on attitude above aptitude), then letting them know upfront exactly what’s expected of them – sharing your customer service values giving them the knowledge, skills, resources and confidence to deliver this.

Once you’ve all that in place here are 7 ways you can empower your team so they are able to give their best when it comes to delivering a great customer experience:

1. Personal suggestions

Involve your team in discussions and decision-making. After all, many of them will spend more time with customers than you do and often spot things or hear things you might miss.

So ask for their suggestions, what do they think will work, what won’t work, what will customers love?

But once you’ve asked their opinion be sure to be prepared to listen. Even if you’ve tried something before and it hasn’t worked that doesn’t mean to say it’s not a good idea. Quash their ideas early on and they’ll be reluctant to come forward with suggestions in future.

2. License to do what’s best

You can’t be there 24/7. Trust your team to make decisions to do what’s best in a given situation. If they truly understand your customer service values and what’s of most importance generally they’ll work out the best route to get there.

This is particularly so when things go wrong or when something out of the ordinary happens. Expecting team members to seek your approval or get sign off every time is time wasting for you, demeaning for your team and at best frustrating for your customer.

3. Anticipate (what if…)

Equip your team to deal with the unexpected. In any business there are times when things don’t go according to plan or mishaps happen. The more you can anticipate these and train your team in how to handle such situations the more confident they’ll be, and the likely they’ll deal smoothly with anything that gets thrown at them.

Your goal is always to minimise the negative impact on the customer experience.

4. Ownership

Give individual team members ownership over particular tasks. This gives a sense of pride and ownership.

And with ownership comes the desire to get things right.

When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise. This can take the pressure off you as this person then becomes the go to person instead of you.

5. Keep informed

Keep your team up to date with what’s happening in your business so they don’t look stupid in front customers.

This not only includes up-to-date product knowledge but what else is happening in your industry, with your competitors, in the press; what’s happened or going to happen in your business on a day-to-day basis, customers you’re expecting to call or visit today; anything happening in your business, your location, or industry that could have an impact on customers; what’s available, what is not available, limited availability, where might there be delays in deliveries or work schedules.

A knowledgeable team not only gives them confidence, it enables them to make decisions, offer suggestions and most importantly help build trust with your customers.

6. Personal development

Not everyone wants to progress, but that doesn’t mean to say they don’t want to be stretched or given opportunities for new challenges. Add variety so they don’t become stagnant; a bored employee is unlikely to wow your customers!

Give them exposure to other aspects of your business and opportunity to experience different tasks which all leads to better understanding of your business as a whole and in turn creates confidence- for your team and your customers.

7. Continuous improvement

Create a culture of continuous improvement. Challenge your team members to come forward with suggestions on how things can be improved, not just for the customer but to make their lives easier too.

Shaving 5 minutes off a task in one area can free up 5 more minutes to spend caring for customers elsewhere. .

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So how well do you fare in these 7 areas? Do your people have power and the opportunity to enhance your customers’ experience?

If you’d like help on any of these I’d love to see how I can assist.


Why do staff quit your hotel?

Yesterday I was at the local hoteliers’ association meeting where one of the topics of conversation was finding good quality staff, in particular chefs. We already know that there is a lack of new talent entering the industry so it’s important that we hang on to our best people. The hospitality industry has always had one of the highest labour turnover rates in all sectors of the economy but there are a few things that we can do to minimise staff turnover.

First of all unless we understand why staff leaving it will be difficult to reverse the trend. In an ideal world some kind of confidential exit interview should be conducted and wherever possible this is best done by someone other than a line manager. The reason for this is that if it’s poor management or leadership that has prompted the move, it’s unlikely that you’re going to learn the truth if the line manager is asking the question! The saying goes people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses.

But even if your staff structure doesn’t allow for this it is important to find out much as possible about people’s motives for leaving.

If the reason they give is more money look to see how your rates compare with the competition. But also look at what benefits your staff are getting that they may not be getting elsewhere and ensure people are aware of everything that makes up their package.

If they’re moving for career progression, is this something that you could a given them but just didn’t make them aware of the opportunities? What can you do in future to ensure that all your team get the recognition and development they need for their career progression? You won’t be able to accommodate everyone’s aspirations particularly if you’re a small hotel, but having some kind of succession plan in place does give people something to work towards. However, don’t make promises that you are unable to keep.

And if you find out you are the problem and the reason that people leave, reflect on what you need to do to change. Find out what are the things that people find difficult or frustrating about working for you or with you, and then figure out a way to change your approach.

My new online leadership coaching programme could be a starting point to getting the help you need and is being launched in September.