Hospitality Management Skills: Managing Your Managers

For a hospitality business owner, it’s tough to realize that developing your hotel or restaurant management skills involves managing your managers.

Developing that skill cannot be done in a classroom.


Luckily, if you’ve found your way to Serviceable, you’re already in the best learning environment available; your business.

I’ve already gone into detail on how to build your management team. Now I’ll go over a few ways to ensure you can trust them to run your business according to your standards when you’re not there.

Why is skillfully managing your managers good for you?

One of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten didn’t come from a customer or guest but from a young assistant manager of mine.

“…I’ve learned more from you in six months than I did in the previous two years with this company.”

I pride myself in helping others to be successful, so hearing that from a young manager was very satisfying. The feeling I felt that day is one reason I started Serviceable. He told me that many years ago.

He now owns his own successful restaurant.

He was able to do that because I managed him well, which helped him to develop his skills. All of that helped me to continue to develop my skills.

Set your expectations. Manage your expectations.

Because you’re the leader and owner of the business you should know the direction you want to go in and the goals you want to achieve. I know a lot of people who have somehow lost the ability to trust their managers and find themselves working from open until close, day in and day out, to make sure their business’s goals are achieved.

You cannot do that. It’s not realistic. Especially if you have a family or want to have one.

There will come a time when you cannot be there and you need to train your assistants to be trustworthy. You need to be able to have the peace of mind to know they will take steps or make the right decisions to keep your business on track to reach its goals.

This means clearly setting your expectations from day one of hiring or promoting them and then holding them accountable for their actions.

Remember, ultimately this is your business and you are responsible. Any mistakes your assistants make reflects poorly on you and hurts YOUR business, not theirs.

But don’t be a tyrant.

Being a leader involves knowing when to give orders and when to listen.

One thing to realize is that you personally don’t deal with every single customer. You may say hello and chat with a few, but your employees and managers talk to every single one. Any feedback from them is just as valuable as hearing it straight from the guest.

I always tell my managers that during the busy time of day, I want them to do exactly as I have told them or have trained them but, after the rush, I am always open to hearing new ideas on how to handle situations. I know that I am not the be all, end all expert on everything.

Many times my managers have ideas that are much better for my business than my own.

Be a coach, not a dictator.

Remember, I said the goal is to be able to trust and know that your managers will always do the right thing. When you see them doing something incorrectly, pull them aside and correct the behavior.

That doesn’t mean you lecture them, berate them, or make fun of them. Simply point out what you saw, explain how you want the task done, why you want it done that way, and let them return to their duties. If you need to, work alongside them so that you can show them the right way to complete a task.

Delegate responsibility.

Running a business involves several day to day duties that you can assign to your assistants instead of having to do each yourself.

Delegating requires you to be a strong communicator and to clearly tell your managers what their duties are. This is a great way for your assistants to learn quickly, learn well, and for you to build your trust in their abilities.

As the final say in your business, your main job should be to follow up and to make sure all tasks are done correctly and on time. The last thing you want is to find out your assistant forgot to make an employee schedule or forgot to place an order for supplies.

If you find that your assistants are not completing their duties, you’ll need to hold them accountable.

Solve problems with clarity.

Just like any other team that works closely together, people start to annoy each other. Make sure to take a diplomatic approach when conflicts arise between your management team and that you don’t take sides. Instead, listen to all sides and then take your time to come up with a solution that everyone can work with.

Warning: this doesn’t always involve a happy ending.  Occasionally the solution may be to change or lose a management team member. You may have to let one go, or they may leave voluntarily.

Always be available.

Everyone says,

“…I have an open door policy…”


“…you can tell me anything…”

but you really need to make this true.

I make sure every manager, if not every employee of mine, has my cell phone number. I also let them know that it is perfectly acceptable for them to call or text at any time with any problem. Yes, this opens you up to texts or phone calls that you may not always want to participate in, but it is a part of establishing trust and showing that your employees are important to you.

It’s a great way to foster the bond that keeps your employees loyal.

This advice is by no means all you need to know about managing your managers. Each team is different and each business is different. If you find you need advice, please feel free to contact me.

If you have friends or colleagues you think would benefit from this advice, please share it with them.

Follow me on Serviceable to learn about managing your hotel or restaurant from an owner’s and operator’s point of view.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Krish Zery says:

    I found your blog to be very informative. I am greatly inspired by your posts and thinking of writing mine now. Thanks for being an inspiration to me as I was also trying to write blogs but was not getting the appropriate genre.


    1. Hello, Krish!

      Thank you for the feedback! I, too, take motivation from you. I’ve been taking time off from the blog to finish some projects before the holidays end but expect me to be back with a host of new topics for 2017. Are you thinking of starting your own restaurant or small business? If so, are there any topics you’d like me to write more about or address?

      As for your blog, I’d love to read it when you get it going!

      Thanks for everything and see you soon!


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