Great leaders are people whom one would never expect to lead. They come from all walks of life and usually never end up following the predetermined path to leadership. Now, some people are born leaders, but more often than not, leaders are people who wish to see change and use that fire inside of themselves to drive them upwards.
A general manager in the Hospitality industry is the perfect example of a great leader. They must direct all facets of the business with poise.
In the Hospitality industry, the general manager has their work cut out for them. Hospitality is a challenging career because you are dealing with people. A leader in Hospitality must make sure they are doing everything they can to lead their team towards maximum guest satisfaction. Having a set of skills can make this task a lot easier and ensure greater success in their chosen Hospitality position.
1. Emotional Intelligence
A trait that is extremely important to anyone who wishes to be a general manager in the Hospitality industry is Emotional intelligence. It is not something that can be taught, but rather a trait that one must possess independently.
There are five key elements to emotional intelligence, according to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist. They are as follows: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. He defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”
In the Hospitality industry, the general manager is leading kitchen staff, front-of-house staff, hosting team, and in some cases, the security staff. They are also handling guests. Everyone handles and reacts to situations differently, and it is the general manager’s job to know how to manage such a diverse group of individuals.
Working in Hospitality can often be a very stressful job. After all, you are dealing with the care of people. It is usually a fast-paced environment where anything can go wrong. A Hospitality industry leader must be clear and concise in communicating with their staff and their guests.
Professionals in a leadership position must demand attention and respect without being rude or too callous. In short, communication is a vital skill that defines highly-effective leaders in the Hospitality industry and beyond.
3. Attention to Detail
This skill can work both with guests as well as staff. For instance, a Hospitality industry leader will remember a frequent guest who doesn’t enjoy sitting next to the windows. In turn, they can ensure that there’s a table saved near the restaurant’s center to accommodate that guest’s preferences.
Additionally, a successful Hospitality leader should remember that one of their staff members cannot work every other Saturday night. Having this attention to detail shows guests and staff alike that their leader takes their issues into account and is willing to remember them and rectify the situation without a struggle. It builds trust and respect for the leader, as well.
4. Modeling by Example
No one will be willing to follow a leader who does not practice what they preach. A sign of a successful Hospitality industry leader is when they remind their staff what the organization stands for and why it is essential. They set an example of how a model employee must act.
“I would never ask an employee to do something I wouldn’t do myself. You always want to set an example and never want to expect anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.” – Len Wolman.
5. People Skills
This is the most critical skill anyone who wishes to lead in Hospitality should attempt to hone. In the Hospitality industry, you will be working with people of all ages and from all over the world. It is imperative to be able to relate to and connect with them. No matter the job, no one wants to be made to feel like they are unrelatable. A great general manager can level with people and make them feel seen and heard. Cultivating interpersonal skills can help anyone advance their career in Hospitality.
It is quite possible to become a successful general manager in the Hospitality industry, despite being a physically and mentally demanding job. Some important leadership skills in the Hospitality work area include emotional intelligence, communication, attention to detail, the ability to model by example, and excellent people skills. Acquiring these skills can take your everyday general manager to the top, turning them into a leader that not only staff will respect, but one guests will appreciate.