Jon Sholter -
Today, in less than 3 minutes, we are going to cover the following:
How to not misunderstand the phrase "leading by example".
We know the cliché, leaders lead by example, but this statement is often taken out of context.
We see it a lot in hotels, the manager doing the work of Front Line employees. Whether helping housekeeping clean rooms, working at the front desk, washing dishes in the kitchen or folding laundry. When your team sees you rolling up your sleeves, this is no doubt a morale boost and culture-building act.
HOWEVER, If a leader is in the trenches too often, the opposite effect will occur.
To those wondering, when is too often? Well, the truth is, it's not so much with how often but rather why. Why is it the Leader needs to step into operations? Let's look at some positive culture reinforcing reasons first.
Your hotel is going through a surprise or an extraordinarily short term busy time.
You're contributing to bonding with and further coaching your Team members.
You're doing it to learn more about how your department functions and experience what your Team Members experience.
Now, let's look at some reasons that can have a negative impact.
A trend of continued short staffing issues over a season. Causes of this may be poor recruitment strategies, poor scheduling or sick calls within the hotel.
A leader is taking on too many shifts to save front line costs while the hotel is not in a financially dire situation.
A Leader falling back on front line shifts because Leadership/Managerial duties take them out of their comfort zone.
Can we see the difference between these two categories?
The positive categories all have tangible benefits. The Team sees the Leader as willing, supportive and having their backs. Furthermore, the Team sees their Leaders as understanding them and their roles. The Leader begins to be seen as a knowledgeable, hard working human being instead of an out-of-touch boss.
The negative, on the other hand paints a much different picture. They show incompetence, selfishness and lead to important hotel initiatives, processes and goals not being accomplished. Above and beyond, these over contributing managers will lead to stressed out Teams caused by more staffing emergencies.
So what do we do about this as Leaders in our hotel?
Remember to continually reflect and analyze the difference between Important and Urgent tasks. Remember that as a Leader, your Important tasks must significantly outweigh your urgent ones. Too many urgent tasks mean you have more significant problems to solve.
If you find yourself in a hotel in constant chaos and turmoil. Take a breath and start dissecting. No culture and problem cannot be fixed. Focus on your root causes of problems and not their symptoms.
If you see the signs of a Leader working too often over the course of a year, realize there is most probably a management skill/coaching issue here rather than a staffing issue at play.
Remember you are there to Support your Team, not Be your Team.