3 Traits That Make Up Exceptional Hospitality Leaders
Follow three characteristics that separate leaders from managers in the hospitality industry.
By Angela Rose for Hcareers.com
Management and leadership go hand in hand, one natural extension of the other. Unfortunately, in hospitality as in any other industry, many managers never realize their full leadership potential. Some do not have the authority to do so; others choose not to exercise it. They hamper their personal as well as professional growth in the process—as true leaders are often the obvious choice for recruitment and promotions. Whether you’re a hotel director, head housekeeper, casino floor supervisor or working within another hospitality management position, consider cultivating these three traits.
1. Leaders focus on people.
The heart of any hospitality business is its people. Where a manager focuses on the systems that must be in place in order for a hotel, resort or casino to run smoothly, a leader looks beyond those processes. They observe their strengths, weaknesses and find ways to utilize their skills to the ultimate benefit of the company and the individual. For example, a hotel manager may notice that one front desk clerk is particularly proficient at assisting guests with dining and entertainment arrangements. Despite the fact that they are always quite busy, the hotel manager decides to move this clerk into the position of concierge. He or she determines that the benefit it will provide their guests—as well as the clerk—more than outweighs a slightly longer check-in line.
2. Leaders take a long-range view.
While no business can be prepared for every eventuality, a leader knows that looking ahead can enable you to dodge some difficulties and capitalize on other opportunities. Where a manager sees the immediate future, a leader cultivates a more expansive perspective. For example, a resort housekeeping manager may notice that occupancy increases on the weekends and then schedules the staff accordingly. If they want to go beyond management into leadership, they'll look further ahead. Perhaps they know that the holiday season is particularly busy for their department but slower up front. He or she then coordinates cross training of the front desk staff so they can help out.
3. Leaders ask why.
Some hospitality managers do as the hotel owner or corporate office tells them—without question. They discount their firsthand knowledge of action on the front lines and behave like good soldiers, executing the orders of their superiors. A leader asks why before he or she takes action, even if the higher ups may see it as a challenge. Top management will understand the value of their insights and use them to help those above them clarify their goals and create realistic plans. For example, a hotel owner tells the kitchen manager to extend room service hours until 2 a.m. The kitchen manager knows that they receive very few orders after 10 p.m. and extending hours is likely to cost the establishment more than they’ll gain. As a leader, the kitchen manager will address the issue to the hotel owner.
Are you a manager or a leader? It’s possible to be both in a management position that allows you to do so. If you’re ready to develop your leadership potential in a new hospitality job, visit Hcareers.com.
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About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends, and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.
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