What is the food service leader’s purpose of an operation? Who do you focus on? Yourself? Your restaurant guests? The people you lead? Who is it all about? If the main focus is you, then where is there room for others?
Try this exercise. Take you index finger and point it at what you wish to focus on. Ask you team members to point to their focuses as well. Where are their fingers pointing? Try it. Point your index finger at something, then look down at the other fingers and what do you see? The majority of the fingers will be pointing at you. The point of this exercise is that what you do with your leadership should be your main focus. How you lead is going to determine what happens each day. Leading can be very rewarding or very disappointing.
Let’s talk about Accountability. How do you hold your staff accountable? Do you set levels of expectation or do you delegate and follow what decisions the team has made? Actions speak louder than words. Your actions at the present time indicate your future behavior to your staff. Take a hard look at your actions. Do you follow through like you say you are going to? Can your team depend on your actions and know that they will be successful in the future?
Are you the type of leader that isn’t aware of your surroundings and can’t even get out of your own way? Or are you the leader that spends time each day checking in with you staff? Are you listening and observing what is going on. Don’t be the person that allows things to blow up in your face. Don’t set yourself up for unpleasant surprises.
Remember that you are human and that you may have problems and doubts. You may need to ask for help from time to time. You earn more respect from your staff when you show them that you are human. Compassion, when you identify with others, and feel for and encourage your staff, gives them hope that everything will be alright. When you show compassion, you will receive respect from your staff.
How you handle conflict will stick with you for the rest of your tenure at a food operation. If you are one that runs from conflict you will struggle and never be successful. No one likes conflict, but if you handle it properly or, better yet, head it off before it happens, your operation will have many successes.
How do you gain credibility from your staff? You gain credibility by being fair and consistent when you have to make tough decisions. Remember that one bad apple can poison the whole staff. Don’t be afraid to march someone out the door. Once your staff realizes you are not going to put up with negative behaviors, you will gain respect and have credibility.
Become a leader with these qualities and you will reap the rewards of a successful food service operation.
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