Mediocre Managers Are All Over in Hospitality
September 6, 2017 8:40am
By Arturo Cuenllas
Mediocre bosses are in all of the industries, not only in hospitality. It's what the majority of research on leadership conclude. When underlings have the opportunity to evaluate their managers, just a small percentage of them are ranked as excellent bosses. This percentage increases a bit more for those managers graded as good. But a great majority of managers are usually evaluated as mediocre or bad from employees. For example, studies as those of the professor of leadership of Harvard Business School, Linda A. Hill explain: "Based on what we have seen, most organizations have few great managers, some good managers, a horde of mediocre managers, some poor manages, and some awful managers."
Other more global studies exist as those of Gallup on motivation, revealing few levels of commitment among employees in their jobs overall. This global consultancy company put the voice of alarm concluding that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to its research based on 142-country study. "In other words, about one eight of workers –roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied- are psychological committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations." Gallup also concluded -as many of us have personally experienced in our careers- that employees quit their jobs mostly because they have bad bosses.
he hospitality industry is not an exception. Indeed, I would like to analyze through this article why there is a crisis of leadership in hotel companies. And why many hospitality organizations are failing in developing their managers and organizational talent. Maybe because they are promoting the wrong people to leadership positions or perhaps due to a wrong selection criteria, but the problem is that the bar on leadership is very low. Executives and the industry overall, are only focusing in technical competences but leaving behind the necessary human and people development skills, needed as well in good managers.
And yet, the great paradox is that if we could be able to ask hotel directors, heads of department, supervisors, and even C-level executives, "how would you rate yourself as a boss?" A majority would rate themselves above average. How is this possible?
Obviously, there is a gap of perception of what employees think of their managers and that of what managers think about themselves; still employees' perception matters a great deal in management because it defines reality. If your associates think you are not a good boss that will finally affect to their level of motivation, creativity, productivity and engagement, and thus the level of service.
No manager wants to be ineffective or evil. However, in spite of the years of experience many managers could be surprised of the results of a 360º upward evaluation (anonymous) from team members. If employees ever had the chance to evaluate their managers in different soft skills such as coaching, communication, listening, integrity, passion, engagement…etc., what do you think they would say about them? The outcome of such evaluation could be disheartening, but it could be also a good shock therapy. Suddenly, we are not the best managers we thought. And yet, the best way to confront with this evaluation is having the courage to accept the results. What are you going to do to make things right? How are you going to work in your fatal weaknesses?
The truth of the matter is that we cannot find many hospitality organizations in which employees can rate their managers. Only a few of them, maybe some big hotel groups, have set evaluation systems 360º with the purpose of controlling the quality of their leaders. Even less are those companies committed to getting rid of toxic managers that are consistently getting poor evaluations from their underlings.
These are some points that explain why there are more mediocre managers than good or excellent:
It should be clear at this point that managers have two main responsibilities; one is getting results and getting the job done. But the second, as important as the first one, is to develop their people individually, and thus make them function as a good team. This last goal is about developing your team members through coaching, boosting their talent, and giving them more autonomy to make their own decisions and participate in important issues of the daily job. I would love to see hotel groups evaluating their managers with one KPI such as "number of team members promoted from his or her team, and transferred to other hotels…" Instead of seeing mediocre managers fearing proficient employees and hiding their talent.
So managers must be good in coaching. And yet, coaching others cannot be done if you don't have enough credibility. How are you going to inspire others if you are not credible to your people? Or, how are you going to make your employees self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses if they don't trust you? Trust and cooperation cannot be imposed because they are sentiments.
The good news is that good managers aren't born but made. Leadership is a process of constant learning and self-reflection. A bad boss today can be an outstanding leader tomorrow if he or she has the courage to confront with his or her weaknesses, and accept his responsibility for self-development.
Tags: arturo cuenllas,
Founder of Conscious Hospitality: a Hospitality Educational Consultancy in Management, Leadership and Sustainability | MBA professor at BHMS –City University of Seattle- in Luzern, Switzerland | MBA associate professor at ESCP Europe Business School in Madrid, Spain | Experienced Hotel General Manager, 20 years overall international experience in the hotel industry; luxury and upscale city hotels and resorts.
Contact: Arturo Cuenllas
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