This is a very interesting time for hospitality managers, as we are finally phasing out one management style for another. As little as a decade ago, many of the powers that be in the industry communicated by yelling and embarrassing their subordinates. Then, suddenly, people started to realize treating subordinates like human beings worked much better than breaking them down at every opportunity.

Having said that, there are still more than a few remnants of that style of management remaining in the hospitality industry. More importantly, there are still managers in the industry that use that “in your face” management style to rule their departments. Many of today’s managers are being asked to mentor managers when they never experienced a true mentor.

If you are wondering if you are a mentor or a muzzler, ask yourself some of these basic questions:

  • Am I teaching my managers my job?
  • Am I making my hospitality managers promotable?
  • Can my department function without me for a day? A week?
  • Am I afraid of being replaced?
  • Can my managers train staff in the same manner as I do?

You should have answered “yes” to all but one of those questions… Am I afraid of being replaced? And, that is the key question here. If you are afraid of being replaced rather than promoted, you are going about the job in the wrong manner. Building a stronger team beneath you does not make you replaceable but rather promotable. You have to think positively and allow that attitude to tumble right down to your staff and throughout your department.

Tips on Mentoring Your Hospitality Managers

  1. Define the Basics – there must be some ground rules established very early on. If your managers do not know what you expect from them, how can they demand the same of your staff?
  2. Explain the Relationship – while this is a mentoring relationship, it should not be a one-way street. Your purpose is to teach, coach, and open opportunities, but that does not mean you cannot learn something from the manager you are mentoring. Expect them to not only ask questions but also come up with solutions on their own. This means being willing to allow them to try new solutions to problems, even if it means they fail. At best, you find a new approach to an old problem. At worst, they fail, and it provides you with a teaching moment.
  3. Perform a Self-Assessment – before ever getting started, it is extremely important for the manager to perform an assessment on their own management skills. They need to be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses so the mentoring sessions are spent concentrating in the right aspects of their management skills.
  4. Set Goals Together… and make them realistic – there is nothing worse than having unachievable goals. For instance, labor in the department has never been below six percent, but the goal is set to five percent. Setting unachievable goals will do nothing more than deflate your manager, so goals must be reasonable and attainable. These goals should also be prioritized by both of you. This will also serve to let you see inside the mind of your manager to ensure you are both on the same page as to the overall priorities of the department.
  5. Open Doors – this could end up being the toughest aspect of the mentoring relationship. What happens when you have groomed the manager to take your place, but there are no opportunities at your property? You made a commitment to teach, coach, and open doors. Your manager held up his or her end, now you must hold up yours. This could mean reaching out to contacts to find opportunities at other properties, ideally within your own organization, which means now you will have to replace the manager you spent all that time grooming. On the surface, it seems like a bad deal for you, but that relationship will more than likely pay off dividends down the road. This is a resource that can be tapped later to “return the favor.” Additionally, you will now have a manager throughout his or her career that will be talking positively about the person that helped them get ahead in the industry. It will make you THE person to work for in the industry.

Being a mentor in this industry means you need to check the selfish gene at the door. We all know how demanding and time consuming this industry is, but it must mean something, or all that work is for nothing. The last thing any executive-level hospitality manager needs is staff that feel as though they are being stifled in their career path. That is when they become P.U.C.’s (pick up a check), and no department head, director, or general manager can afford to have a P.U.C. on their management team.

Is your management staff meeting your expectations? Are some of your managers holding your property or organization back? Do you need more mentors and less muzzlers on your team? Then contact Joseph David International so we can help you find hospitality managers to bring your operation to the next level. For more information about our hospitality recruiting services, click here.

Photo By monkeybusiness