I was always taught to count to ten before reacting….almost a ‘Keep calm and carry on’ type of scenario. It is a habit that will serve you very well.

We live in a fast paced world where hotel guests want quick, efficient and courteous service….fast. The hotel team, from the general manager down to the last line staff member is all focused on working to give the guest just what he wants. But stop to think for a few moments of the incredible amount of interactions and work that it takes to succeed in ‘pleasing all of the people all of the time’, something that Lincoln is quoted as being impossible

Many mistakes will be made, some small, some larger and some that will drive you crazy. It is inevitable, no matter how hard the training.

So, when a member of your team next makes an honest mistake, stop to think about it. Even if the mistake cost money, anger or bad will and it just makes you mad.

Just as your leadership is judged by your actions when the hotel has received so many positive compliments, so the team will be watching to see how you react when someone has made a mistake. Please be certain that your behavior will trickle down, become the subject of staff dining room conversations and talk in the corridors.

As GM at the Carmel Forest Spa Resort in Israel, I once got a call from an American who had left the hotel and travelled home. He told me that he had been charged four thousand shekels for a long distance call he calculated would cost him one thousand, judging from the answer of the switchboard manager. He had paid and left but decided to call when back home. I told him I would investigate and call back shortly.

When I asked the switchboard manager she admitted that in the heat of a busy period answering calls she had given the wrong information. She had mixed the information by which a call charge is calculated and had given this to the guest. It would cost the hotel three thousand shekels.

I started to get cross but counted to ten.

“Please do not make that mistake again and please inform the other team members not to also.” I requested before ending the conversation.

Take a minute to think about it. She answers hundreds of calls in a shift. She must give accurate information and yet fast as there are other calls waiting. And she must be courteous during all of this. A tough demand. How would I manage in her position? A very hard call to make.

She had made an honest mistake in the heat of the moment. True, the hotel had lost revenue, but the costs were covered and then some.

In the following days I heard from my executive assistant and department heads that the staff was happy about my decision. The word out was that their GM would back them up if they made an honest mistake, and that they were proud to work in such a hotel.

Everyone should be allowed to make honest mistakes; only people who work make mistakes.

I know that I have made many, and learned from every one of them. It is inconceivable that your staff will not make them, if they are working hard to make your hotel a success.