Career advancement: How to become a leader at your hotel
Becoming a leader at work can lead to a promotion, more responsibility and greater job satisfaction. Even if your current position doesn’t involve managing others, you can still be seen as a leader by your peers and management simply by the way you conduct yourself every day.
According to Dr. Ronald F. Cichy at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business, good leaders share at least 5 essential skills:
1. Innovation: Strong leaders are always looking for ways to improve themselves and their organization. They focus on quality and take the initiative to make changes and take risks. That means they’re always learning, whether taking a class, reading, observing or asking others for input. They’re open to new ideas and often seek out mentors for guidance outside their daily tasks. They’re typically willing to be flexible and change their minds when needed, easily adapting to changes in circumstances.
2. Vision: In order to get where you’re going, you need a map. Achieving your goals at work is much the same. Leaders must be able to clearly communicate the vision they have and be able to engage others in implementing it. That means you must make it possible for your team to see that vision clearly and trust them to work together, providing the tools they need to get there.
3. Inner Values: Leaders understand how important it is for employees (especially those working non-standard hours) to honor their work-life balance. Employees need to be able to focus at work without burning out, as well as spend time with their families and friends. Another important inner value is a good sense of humor. Leaders can laugh at themselves and acknowledge when they make mistakes. Finally, be sure to nurture your strengths and use them fully to reach your goals.
4. Inspiration: Good leaders inspire their teams. Get to know each employee individually, ask for their input and give them the tools they need to succeed. Encourage them to try new things and allow them to make mistakes so they can learn and grow. When employees know they are empowered to make decisions and solve problems, they become more confident to go the extra mile.
5. Communication: Good leaders are strong communicators. You have to be able to articulate your goals and be sure everyone involved understands what’s needed to meet those goals. It also means learning to actively listen, ask questions and be empathetic. Be sure to consider the perspective of the person speaking with, especially those who interact with customers every day.
New and Young Employees can be Leaders, Too
Most young or new employees aren’t often considered leaders at work. They typically start at the bottom and don’t have a ton of experience and skills. However, with the right attitude, any young person can demonstrate they’re capable and ready to lead. Here are a few strategies that will help you stand out as a leader, even if you're entry-level:
- Take time to get a sense of the culture of your new workplace so you don’t rub people the wrong way. While you don’t want to be too assertive at first, don’t sit back and be hesitant, either. Instead, be an active part of the team, be willing to take on extra duties, help out and do what’s needed. Make sure you openly respect the opinion of others, listen actively and recognize opportunities to shine.
- Seek out the advice of others. That may mean reading about leadership in books or taking classes in professional development. Make sure you remain open to new information and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
- If you have a skill or different viewpoint that you can share and will be helpful, offer it. For example, if you’re up on the latest tech or social media, make some suggestions that you think may improve the current policy. Be willing to volunteer to take on an extra project that showcases your skills and may give you some valuable leadership experience.
- Above all, work hard. That seems obvious, but always do your best, put in the hours and be respectful. When you show that you can handle the basics, you’ll be given more interesting and complex tasks. Get to know your teammates on a more personal level and take an interest.
- And finally, when you do something well, be sure to share the credit. Good leaders always acknowledge the work of others.
Regardless of where you are in pecking order, there will be a point when you’ll be handed a leadership role. Your team will be depending on you to hit the deck running. Practice these skills and when the time comes, you’ll be ready.