Hotel management of leadership?
How are you managing or leading your hotels? As managers or as a company?
The word leader is very popular these days, and if you ask any hotel manager, they’re sure to tell you that apart from managing, they are also leading their teams. But from experience, I should point out that when it comes to managing, many hotels die or are brought down as they don’t have the time or don’t know how to lead such organisations.
Perhaps I should start by defining the concepts to standardise analysis criteria. I believe there is some confusion about “leading teams”, which seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongues theses days. This concept is accepted as something akin to managing teams, inspiring, having charisma, motivating, etc. Wrong. This term embodies a much wider concept, and we need to differentiate between three activities:
- Managing resources
When we speak about managing resources, the primary goal is to obtain results, and there’s no other underlying meaning. This case can be seen in hotels that work, but where the staff are demotivated, disengaged, disgruntled, fear their superiors, and suffer internal conflicts. Does it work? Of course, but if the hotel gets all the staff on board, it could be done a whole lot better.
- Managing people
The aim here is to get the staff involved. This will undoubtedly show results, as when we see a friendly face, that the employees are motivated and working together, they feel listened to, and that they are contributing, there are no conflicts, everyone is in the same boat and working towards the same goal. Nobody taught us how to lead people. And this is where the challenge lies in being coherent with that great line “the most important thing is the people”. Really? So, why not listen to them? Why not let them take part in development projects? One book I found great and would strongly recommend is “Employees First, Customers Second: Turning Conventional Management Upside Down” by Vineet Nayar, the former, and talented, CEO of the Indian company HCL Technologies.
This means promoting change. If there’s no change, it means things are managed, and you’re not leading. How many companies from Motorola to Nokia could have been managed perfectly, but disappeared off the map. What was missing? In simple terms, this is just adapting to or pre-empting change. This is leading a company, an institution, a country or a hotel. But why don’t we do it? There are several reasons: there’s no time, we’re afraid of the enemies or the resistance we may encounter, or we don’t know how to do it.
So, today, I’d like to leave you with four phrases to reflect upon:
- Managing without leadership is stagnation
- Leadership without management is chaos
- Managing implies the company works
- Leadership means the company evolves
What have I seen in my day to day life over the years in the hotel sector? Well, pretty much the same as in any other sector…The management collapses.
Answering emails, monitoring comments on TripAdvisor and Booking, meetings in the office, analysing the competition, prices, customer satisfaction, etc. In short, making sure the ship keeps sailing is a commendable, exhausting, and demanding task that gives results.
But the big question is: do we have the time to lead, drive, or design some type of change within our everyday tasks? Before the environment was stable and it wasn’t necessary. Nowadays, the only constant is uncertainty, and this forces us to face a changing environment.
The problem is that if we want to lead, we fall into the old concept of leadership where the leader picks up the sword and runs into battle expecting everyone to follow behind. But, leadership is more about awakening the troops and getting them to lead, and this implies training leaders down the chain. It means handing back the responsibility of change to all the employees. To do this, you have to listen, set up a culture of change, initiatives, but also you need to have a structure of changes that allows these ideas to flourish and develop.
So after clarifying the terms and differences between leading and managing people.
Are you a good manager or leader in your organisation?