There is no denying that the hospitality industry is one that is both fast-paced and high-pressured, and staff at all levels are an integral part of ensuring everything runs smoothly. Those in management positions are responsible for ensuring that employees are happy and working to the best of their abilities, that customers are satisfied and that every department is operating efficiently. That’s a lot of work to handle!
As expected, juggling all of these responsibilities requires a certain amount of determination, inner toughness and, most importantly, the right set of skills. So if you want to work your way up the ladder by furthering your management skills, read on for our top tips on how to be a better leader.
1) Build a great team from the off
A manager is only as good as the team around them, which is why it is essential that you hire people that not only have what it takes to do the job, but also that they have the right character to fit the team.
When it comes to hiring, you will have to find people that embody the best of both worlds: the right skillset and the perfect attitude that will ensure they arrive at work each day ready to do their best. Once you have your team around you, one of your main focuses should always be to develop a culture that reflects the spirit and the goals of the business. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions. You might find an absolute world beater who has amazing talent, but if they’re a bad apple attitude wise, they could upset the balance of the entire team.
2) Always be willing to learn
Even if you’re at the top of your field and running your own kitchen, you should always be ready to learn more about the industry you work in. Those in managerial positions will often have to be a jack-of-all-trades, encompassing specific skills such as working with food, being a great team member and also approachable to customers, which is why it’s key to always develop and learn.
Start by doing some internet research and finding industry-related blogs and news sites where you can keep up to date, read often and learn from others as much as you can. Identify the skills that you currently have and also where you need to improve and excel. If you don’t already have one in place, perhaps establish a progression plan for yourself where you set goals in terms of skills to be learned, that way you always have something to aim for. Take inspiration from managers you’ve had in the past. Can you take certain traits from each of them to help boost your own skillset?
3) Be your own advantage
What are you best at? Doing a self-evaluation as mentioned above will help you figure out your best qualities. Are you a perfect planner? A magnificent multitasker? Or cracking when it comes to communication? No matter what your strengths are, use them to your advantage and excel. Working this way is a win-win situation for everyone involved; you are able to show off your best skills, your customers will benefit from the excellent service you provide and your employees will follow in your footsteps. Always try to lead by example.
4) Value your employees
Working with a team is all about striking the perfect balance between leading and allowing people to work independently to better themselves. The best managers in hospitality establish clear goals, objectives and responsibilities for their team member, along with communicating the final results that are expected, but they also just let them do their jobs, only getting involved when support is needed.
Remember that self-evaluation you did to discover your areas for improvement? The very best managers know their employees’ strengths and weaknesses inside out, and take steps to help them improve. No one wants to stay in the same role forever; everyone is looking to progress in their career. Putting a progression plan in place for your employees shows them you value their contribution, and that you care about their future.
5) Have an open door
Even if you don’t have a physical office, make sure your employees always know that they can come and confide in you if they have any concerns or worries about their role. Let them know that they can speak to you at any time and with complete confidence, whether it’s a work or personal matter. That sort of trust between a manager and employee is invaluable. Once an employee has approached you with a problem, it’s also essential that you do everything within your power to provide a solution.
6) Address the issues quickly
It could involve a customer, an employee or your working environment, but great managers will always tackle any problems that arise as soon as possible, rather than allowing them to spiral out of control. By doing this you will ensure that the service to customers never falls short of your high standards, and it also makes sure employees don’t lag behind.
Even if there are no glaringly obvious issues, always keep your eyes peeled for areas where improvements can be made, whether it’s in the kitchen or on the main reception desk. Once a problem has been identified, don’t be afraid to ask your employees for suggestions on a solution. You’ll build a real sense of camaraderie, generate creative ideas and solve a potential dilemma all in one!
7) Ask for help
It may have been your career goal, but being a head chef or general manager comes with a great deal of responsibility. Even though you may be in charge, you aren’t expected to be able to cope with everything that comes your way, especially when it feels like things start to snowball, and therefore you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Once you reach your workload limit or are concerned that your service to customers may start to suffer as a result, don’t be afraid to tap into the skills and knowledge of your team and delegate. Maybe you need assistance from a third party? There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if it means you can focus on what you do best.
8) Communicate well
This tip works well when it comes to both your employees and customers. Being approachable and friendly to visitors to your hotel or restaurant ensures that you are always able to provide an exceptional service. Be open to suggestions or concerns from visitors, and do whatever you can as quickly as you can to rectify any problems that may emerge.
When it comes to those you work with, make sure everyone knows where the business is headed, as this will obviously have an impact on their future too. Be crystal clear on your vision for the team so you can inspire and motivate your colleagues to work towards the same goals. One of the main gripes that many employees have, not just in hospitality but all professions, is that they feel like a small cog in a massive corporate machine, and have no idea about the bigger picture. The best managers will keep their team well informed of company matters.
9) Always think of the future
The hospitality industry is one that is constantly changing and developing. New and emerging food trends will affect the menus and dishes that are crafted in the kitchen, and policy changes and new technologies will always make waves in hotels, but don’t be afraid of this!
It’s never too early to think about the future, so if you get wind of a new technology or new initiative, embrace it and start to think of ways that you can incorporate it into your business. Keep your focus on the goals of the company and how you can work towards them. If you fail to adapt to new changes you could very well find yourself being left behind.
10) Build an exciting workplace
We spend a tremendous amount of time in work, and this is particularly true when you have a job in hospitality. So while it may be important to maintain a professional working environment, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it a little exciting. The more your employees enjoy where they work, the more incentive they have to work better and harder. Why not organise afternoons or days outside of work where your colleagues can get together and socialise? Establish contests into your working day that may involve bonuses or treats? Or it could be something as simple as adding a warm-up meeting at the start of every day to get the motivation flowing.
So there you have it; 10 ways for you to become a truly fantastic manager within the hospitality industry. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive and those in charge should always be looking for ways to improve themselves, their business and their staff. In the end it’s all about building an enjoyable workplace that excels when it comes to customer delivery.
Think you’ve got what it takes to be a hotel manager or head chef? Take a look at our jobs page to see if anything whets your appetite.