5 qualities that employees want in a general manager| | By HOTELS Editors on 8/16/2010| | Author, executive and motivational speaker Peter Burwash spends about two-thirds of the year staying in hotels and traveling around the world. Over 35 years, he has spoken with thousands of hotel employees, discussing what they like and dislike about their general manager and working at the hotel in general. Many of these conversations were an important source of information for his book, The Key To Great Leadership, in which the 25 qualities necessary to be an outstanding leader are outlined.
Here are his top five qualities that hotel employees prefer to see in the leadership style of their general manager. Visibility. In Tom Peter’s best-selling book, In Search of Excellence, about outstanding companies, one of the concepts Burwash highlighted was “Management By Wandering Around” or MBWA. Burwash adds an “I” to the end—Management By Wandering Around and Interacting (MBWAI). Employees want to know that their general manager cares about them and comes around to their work area. Yet a majority of employees tell Burwash that they hardly ever see their general manager.
Loyalty. Burwash is a strong believer that loyalty is a two-way street. If a prospective employee came in for an interview and said, “I am looking to stay here for about five weeks,” they would have no chance at getting the job, yet an employer will not hesitate to terminate someone less than a month after hiring them. Employers today complain about the high turnover, but part of the reason is a lack of loyalty from management. Respect. Hunter Hansen, general manager of Naples Grande Resort ; Spa, made one of the best statements Burwash has ever heard on the issue of “respect. He said—speaking of the hospitality industry—“We are friends serving friends. ” General managers cannot necessarily always be friends with their employees, but what employees want is to feel respect both for their position and who they are as human beings, even if they are cleaning the toilets. The general manager often does not take the time to learn their names or anything about them as a person. Likewise, when the general manager does communicate with employees, it can often come across as talking down or just making small talk. Interacting with employees as equals in service breeds respect. Enthusiasm.
Almost every time Burwash hears or reads the word “enthusiasm,” he thinks of a famous quote by Winston Churchill: “Success is going failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm. ” Translated for today: Success is going from high economic times to low economic times without the loss of enthusiasm. Enthusiastic leaders will draw people to them like a magnet. Employees want to feel the passion of their general manager, not their negativity. When looking at the companies that have done well during these past few years of challenging economic times, it is those where the leader has remained enthusiastic and positive.
Value their opinion. The number of poorly designed hotel rooms where there are significant flaws in the overall function of the rooms is a direct result of the architect, owner and management not asking the housekeepers what will work best. This is just one example that reflects on the overall operation. Rarely does Burwash stay in a hotel room where he finds that everything is practical, functional and makes sense. Doors are banging into each other; not enough space to put your bag between a bed and wall; the bathroom counter is too small for a shaving kit or vanity bag.
There are multiple challenges. Yet many of these issues could be resolved by walking around and asking one question to employees: “What do you think? ” It is difficult to ignore the irony of so much focus today on the bottom line, yet the statistics are overwhelming. It costs far more to keep hiring and training new staff versus the costs of retaining good employees. If more general managers can incorporate the five areas mentioned here, they will have a much better chance to experience a better bottom line, happier employees and more satisfied guests, Burwash says. | | |