In my last post, I began talking about how to create a successful management team for a service industry business.
I went over some of the basics, reiterated some of the traits you’ll need, then talked about creating goals and the word “TEAM.”
For today’s post, I’d like to talk a bit about how to solve problems on your team and what to do if you’re walking into an existing management team. I’ll do this with anecdotes and a bit of advice.
Joining an already close-knit team.
Over the course of my career, I’d say I’ve worked on 25-30 different management teams. Of course, I’ve also formed my own teams within that time.
When meeting a new team or starting a new team, there is always one thing that they all have in common: the honeymoon period.
This is when everyone (including regular staff members) is just getting to know each other, everyone is trying to put their best foot forward to be as helpful as possible while you transition over, and to genuinely make an attempt at making the new team work.
The unfortunate thing about a honeymoon is that it ends.
So the honeymoon is over.
Inevitably, there comes a time within all teams that members will have differing opinions about how the business should be run, how a guest situation should have been handled, or how employee situations should be handled.
There are many pieces of advice I’ve gotten from my mentors in the past about what to do when you’re new to the team. I remember one of the first General Managers I worked under said,
For the first week, just be quiet, stand in the background, and observe. Then, the second week you walk in and immediately DROP THE HAMMER!
That may have been a good tactic for him and, believe it or not, that is a common tactic across the business world, but it’s not the best way to deal with the situation in our industry.
A better way.
I prefer another General Manager’s approach. This is someone I trained under when I was very young and keep in touch with to this day. He was sort of like a father-figure to me. He exemplified leadership and creating a family atmosphere amongst staff.
Once he spotted an employee refusing to treat me with the respect that a Manager in Training deserved. He pulled me and that employee into his office and asked the employee point blank,
Do you have a problem with him?
The employee (and I) were so shocked that the employee felt compelled to apologize. He never acted that way towards me again. That went a long way in helping me get things done. It also taught me a lesson in being bold enough to be assertive.
This was his approach to the end of the honeymoon period.
This is the time when you’ll need to show your patience, listening, and problem-solving skills. Consider this a teaching moment. Most of the time you’ll be working with team members that are younger than you. They may still be in college, or even high school, so they haven’t fully developed their ability to keep emotions or personal bias out of a manager meeting or discussion.
Hopefully, you have a management team with members you think will eventually develop those skills if they don’t already have them.
Remember… it’s a family and you’re the head of the household.
For the next and last part (for now) of the series on creating a management team, I’ll give some examples of common problems in the industry that managers may face within their team.
Feel free to refer back to Serviceable for advice and stories. Please share this post with friends and colleagues, or anyone you think it may help.
Always feel free to contact me with questions and ideas.