Leadership is probably one of my favourite topics and greatest passions. I love to study leadership and how great leaders inspire, motivate, and create great cultures in their organisations. Great leaders have the ability to take a flailing company and make it a successful one. Great leadership in Hospitality and Tourism is such an interest of mine because I find that venue owners and operators often don’t think enough about leadership, or have the time to stop and think about how their leadership can inspire their employees, and change their employees lives at the same time.
Unlike in the corporate world, I don’t think many hospitality proprietors get in to the game to become great leaders. Generally, they get in to the game because they love to cook, love to provide an experience, and love to show people a good time. Once they start a business and they get in to the throes of running it day to day, they don’t often have the time, resources, or the expertise to think longer term and about how they lead, and how they inspire.
Leadership is so very important for having a successful business. Firstly, often the staff you are employing are young, sometimes inexperienced, and potentially need a lot of guidance to grow as an employee and as a person. We need to remember that young minds need our help to learn, to grow, and to be the best at their craft. I sometimes wonder if more young hospitality workers were nurtured in the early stages of their careers, if they might stay in the industry longer, even for a career, instead of moving on to other places. They look to you to provide inspiration on the busy days, or when you’re one staff member down, or when things are tight. They look to you to help them learn. To expect them to have all the communication skills of someone twice their age would be a great expectation indeed. Communication, and how to communicate with customers is a skill that takes time guidance, and practice to develop.
Secondly, I think that if you expect greatness from your staff you need to walk the talk. Good leadership is the wiliness to get your hands dirty (which most in the industry know all too well…), and it’s also the ability to practice what you preach. Walk the talk so to speak, and lead by example. If you want great employees, you need to give them the time and resources to learn. You need to take the time to teach them, and be willing to spend time with them to master a skill.
I’m sure we can all remember one influential person from our past who has helped us when others didn’t, or gave us wisdom that others held close. We’ve all had mentors, well at least I hope you have, because mine have been crucial to my success professionally and personally. They’ve helped to shape me, taught me things I may not have otherwise known, and pulled me up when I have been on the wrong track. We should all be lucky enough to have had people who have helped and shaped us.
What do you think your business would be like if you had that kind of leadership in your business plan? Adding the goal of being a great leader for your staff? Do you think it would change the shape of your business?
I believe wholeheartedly if your employees are motivated, understand what is expected of them, and have been trained well, they will be happier to come to work and great with your customers. You need to allow room for your staff to learn and grow, and work out how best to performance manage your staff whilst giving them incentives to learn and develop their skills.
And always lead by example. If you want greatness in your employees, be great, and they will be inspired. Promise.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: