I’m sure that at some point in your career you’ve 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.
Last week on a management workshop I was running, we discussed how we get people to buy-in to a task, so people do the task willingly, enthusiastically, and even with a degree of pride.
At the very least to get buy in and for team members to do anything with any degree of commitment they need to understand the reasons why – why does it 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 won’t 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 can’t 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 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.
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.
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
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.