Navigating rough waters


The importance of leading well

To deal with an ongoing labor shortage, the ongoing anticipated return of business travel, competition from OTAs, evolving brand standards, and much more, it seems everyone is doing more with less these days. But, that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless. Some of the best leaders in the industry have used this period of time to better understand their team members and further develop their leadership skills.

Throughout our lives, we all will find ourselves in situations where we need to lead others and where we need to let others lead us – whether that happens at home, on the neighborhood HOA, or in the workplace. No matter where each of us may fall on an organization’s hierarchy, we likely all have experience working for a difficult boss or even playing for a joyless coach who made you dread going to practice. Those are simply the character-building speedbumps that make us who we are today. And, whether we realize it or not, those experiences offer endless lessons on leadership. Sometimes, determining what type of leader you want to be can come from experience with a leader you don’t like.

Many business owners believe that if they can hire a good leader, success will naturally follow, and some experts cite solid leadership as the cornerstone of a strong team. So, what does it take to be a good leader and how can we identify the people already on our teams who might be best suited for these roles?

When Millennials entered the workforce, individuals in leadership positions quickly learned the effect of positive reinforcement. Confident and hardworking, Millennials seek appreciation and job growth in any job they take on. Each generation that enters the workforce comes with its own values, attitudes, and strengths. Realizing that fitting people into a cookie-cutter mold would no longer work, leaders began identifying the traits and qualities of each generation.

For example, Gen Z employees are often more willing to leave a job due to the work environment rather than staying for the sake of employment. It’s no surprise that diversity in the workplace improves productivity and creativity, and age diversity requires leaders to be flexible and take the time to understand how to manage varying groups of people differently.

The hospitality industry is an integral part of any country’s economic development and a huge provider of jobs. But, even prior to the pandemic, hotels had been struggling with high turnover for a long time and it persists today. A study conducted in 2018 on hotel employment found that a 1% increase in employee satisfaction resulted in a 54% increase in employees’ intention to remain at work. Job satisfaction is one of the primary factors that contributes to employee retention, especially in the hospitality industry. Savvy hoteliers realize the lack of effective management leads to losses in profitability, and research shows that the hospitality industry needs to apply appropriate leadership styles to maximize job satisfaction for hotel staff.

The definition of leadership has changed during the past 100 years, but many of the tried-and-true values of good leadership remain the same. The role leadership and mentorship play in hospitality is crucial to continuing to build the hospitality industry as a cornerstone of our country’s economic recovery and advancement.

What is authentic leadership?

In a hotel, as is true of many industries, the success of the business is largely dependent on employee performance. Service employees, especially those in customer-facing roles, directly drive customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can result in growth and increased profitability. It stands to reason, then, that nurturing strong leadership skills among those employees is in everyone’s best interests – from the employees to the managers to the business itself.

And if there’s a ray of sunshine in all the dark clouds hoteliers have had to navigate the past two-plus years, it’s that there is an approach to leadership that has been proven to work within a hotel setting, especially in difficult situations. As a quick history lesson, though, during the early 21st century, there were countless incidents of corruption and corporate scandals across various industries. To rebuild trust in ethical business practices, social scholars and business leaders developed a new leadership theory called “authentic leadership.” In the intervening years, this approach has been found to be successful across many industries including nursing, commerce, education, the airline industry, and yes, hospitality.

Recent research found that managers who demonstrate authentic leadership behaviors can positively impact hotel employees’ psychological capacities, including hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy. Described by social scientists as a form of positive, transparent, and ethical leadership within an organization, authentic leadership can have a direct impact on employees in the service industry resulting in greater job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, and even improved job performance.

Gen Z


Get to know the youngest generation of workers, known as Zoomers.

  1. Gen Z employees are frequently up to date on trends, are acutely aware of diversity, and many prefer to work with little assistance from a supervisor.
  2. Managers often find it best to give Gen Z employees independence while clearly sharing expectations.
  3. Due to lack of experience, Gen Z will make mistakes in the workplace. However, transforming mistakes into a learning opportunity will help them become more loyal and skilled employees.

Finding Authenticity

Some of the strongest leaders our country knows can be found within the ranks of the various military branches. To understand why, theoreticians have accumulated multiple military leadership case studies analyzing commanders and their command styles, finding these common traits among effective and ineffective leaders:

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