I am sitting in my office and wondering what the real and true amount of money that has been wasted by managers NOT asking for advice on a subject that they are not sufficiently informed about when making a decision.
Throughout my career I have learned how to become a better manager by learning from the examples of ‘how not to do it’ that I experienced under the various managers I worked for.
Since these uninformed decisions take place every minute of every workday across the globe in hotels, the total sum of ‘wastage’ must be mind boggling, into the millions and millions on a daily basis! Can you imagine the improved ROI on financials everywhere if managers just thought to ask for advice and guidance BEFORE they made these wrong decisions? Or perhaps how much more funding they could use for employees, or badly needed equipment?
So why do so many managers dismiss this fundamental opportunity to get it right by asking for informed opinions from people that know the answer?
The answer: SHAME of being perceived as weak and lacking in knowledge.
In order to be a great manager you need to know, understand and admit that you do not know everything about your operations. Sure, you are there to take the decisions that need taking, but you should do this only after collecting all the relevant facts about the dilemma. The answer to every problem cannot be found in books, it cannot be found on financial sheets or on Google.
So where can logical, sensible and creative answers be found? Take a look around you! Your hotel is full of experienced staff who knows so much about their specific tasks, from your management team right down to the amazing dishwashers, room attendants, the wonderful front line staff and the back of house people.
I was very lucky at the beginning of my management career by being taught a great lesson in learning by the owner of The King Solomon’s Palace which I helped open as Executive assistant and F&B Manager. I wrote an article about this: http://www.stayaheadhospitality.com/a-very-valuable-lesson which taught me early on that I had a goldmine of information and creative suggestions everywhere around me and all I had to do was tap into it. I encourage you to read it.
Your frontline staff is so much more important to your guests than you are, and you should make it known to them. I remember when starting out in the business how overjoyed I was when the manager spoke to me, said hi or asked me how I was doing. Can you imagine their sense of satisfaction and self worth if they are asked how they might solve a problem? Can you understand the example that gives to your staff, and the fact that it strengthens you as a leader?
So when you next have an operational problem, try going to the source. Ask the staff that work every day on the frontline what they think, what they might do to solve the problem. More often than not they will come up with ideas that only someone who works in the specific area can come up with. More than that, you will be amazed at the money you can save, the good feelings you invest in your staff and the satisfaction you will get from asking their advice. You will gain respect and be seen in a different light.
So go on, throw shame out of the window and go ask your staff for advice next time you have a problem!