AS I SEE IT: WHAT I DO - Hotel Management and Operations

In reflecting upon what it is I do as a manager in the hospitality industry, it’s clear that there are the tasks that I must complete, and then there is all the other stuff. Throughout our careers, there are always plenty of duties that we’re responsible for completing and that are important to our business. These processes are typically mandated by operational need, fiduciary responsibility, or regulatory requirement. The manner in which virtually all of these tasks are completed is typically inflexible and requires little or no creativity. It’s unlikely that one’s professional success will come from one’s ability to perform these duties successfully.

THE OTHER STUFF

The swirled, chocolaty surface of a 3 Musketeers bar is not unlike that of any other candy bar; it’s the fluffy stuff inside that makes it unique. We’re not sure exactly what it is, but it sure is good and differentiates it from the others. That’s the other stuff. That’s what I spend most of my time focusing on and constantly working to improve. That other stuff is leadership. There’s a world of people smarter than me who have written books on this subject, so I certainly don’t profess to have any of the answers. What I can share with you is what the zigs and zags of my career path have taught me.

IF IT WEREN’T HARD, EVERYONE WOULD DO IT

It’s called leadership, not maintainer ship. Leadership is about leading. It’s being proactive rather than reactive. It’s being out ahead of challenges, as opposed to chasing them. It’s about truly being engaged in and passionate about your work. It’s about wanting to be and working toward being the best. As I walk the resort and interact with our employees and guests, I attempt to be aware of the challenges that each of the operations is facing. What are they proud of that they should be recognized for? What barriers are preventing them from continuing to improvement? What might be around the corner that we’re not aware of yet? What’s important to our guests? What can we do, for our guests and employees, to make us better than our competition? How can we meet our employees’ developmental needs? Woven into all of these questions and what should always be factored into the answers are people—individuals with diverse backgrounds, varying opinions, and different needs. As a leader, I must be able to recognize those differences and respond appropriately to each of them. Being skilled at listening is just as important as leading. How can one answer without knowing the questions? In a 24/7 industry like ours, this interaction and these questions never stop. Early in my career, when I was a shift manager, a clear line divided work time and off time. After my ten-hour day, the hotel and I went our separate ways until I was back for my next shift. In more senior leadership roles, this line is no longer as clear. Especially in the age of the Blackberry, that line can completely disappear.

Here’s the part where I make a pitch for balance. That, too, is a valuable leadership skill. Without question, it’s possible to be a great leader and still have balance. This is important not only to the leader, but also to those he or she leads, as they often feel compelled to follow the leader’s example. This should remain a priority throughout one’s career.

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