Manage Staff by Setting an Example

Staff Management / Lead By ExampleWhat Management Is…and Isn’t

Management is making other people do what you want them to do.  Some would argue that it is simplistic and cynical, preferring more complex and nuanced descriptions to define the task.  I think this definition is simple and elegant.  I further think that those who would disagree often confuse the specific activities we employ, and general philosophies to which we adhere, as management.  Training, supervising, incenting and reinforcing (positive and negative) are some activities that a manager might engage in to make their employees behave in a particular, beneficial manner.  Management styles that focus on coaching, mentoring, leading and collaborating are general approaches that fit a manager’s personality and inform a manager’s decisions and activities, all in an effort to again get employees to act a certain way.  Activities and styles are not management but means to the ultimate goal.

Competence and Excellence

All industries demand particular skills and actions from their employees.  In some industries, hard skills are exclusively important.  In the bar business, this is not the case.  Hard skills are certainly a significant part of the equation.  Your bartenders need the ability to mix drinks, manage payment and keep a clean work space.  Possession of these hard skills is a predictor of competence.  But more significantly, they need a particular set of soft skills, personal characteristics and behaviors that provide the basis for the delivery of outstanding customer service.  Possession of these soft skills is a predictor of excellence.  Emotional intelligence identifies these soft skills and provides tangible evidence about why they work.

Soft skills are difficult to quantify and can be difficult to teach.  At the 2014 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show I presented an education session focused on identifying these soft skills in potential hires using the constructs of emotional intelligence and behavioral interviewing.  Bringing employees into your organization who already possess the competencies that make up emotional intelligence increases the likelihood that more of your staff will be excellent.  But this isn’t the only effort you can make that results in excellent performers.  I finished up that presentation by noting that all employees can improve their level of emotional intelligence.  All they need is someone to provide them with an example, someone on whom they can model their behavior.

Management is making other people do what you want them to do.  What you want your staff to do is provide exceptional customer service.  In order for them to do so, they need to increase their emotional intelligence.  In order to increase their emotional intelligence, they need an example to emulate.  You are that example

Emotional Intelligence

Your employees are always watching you and their co-workers for behaviors that are reinforced or discouraged.  It is vitally important for you to set an example of behaviors you want them to emulate, because they will.  Here are the five emotional intelligence competencies and some examples of how you should act so that your employees know how they should act.  The result will be more stars on your staff who provide the kind of exceptional customer service that keep your customers coming back.

Self-Awareness refers to the ability for an individual to recognize and understand his own emotions, strengths and weaknesses.  Individuals weak in this competency often underestimate or overestimate their abilities to their own detriment and, if in your employ, to the detriment of you and your customers.

                Model Behaviors

1.        You should be confident without being arrogant.  Confidence aligns with true ability while arrogance includes an overestimation of the same. 

2.       You should seek input from others.  Asking for advice from trusted subordinates and colleagues is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of strength and will be seen as such by your staff.

Self-Regulation refers to your ability to control your impulses and moods.  The beverage industry is stressful and fast paced.  Studies actually indicate that keeping your cool in this kind of an environment can be the most important predictor of a long and successful career.

                Model Behaviors

1.       You should stay calm, especially at the busiest times.  Your employees will appreciate it in the moment and work to do the same in the future.

2.       You should avoid emotional outbursts.  It’s unprofessional and immature.  Would you want your staff described as either? Right…then you shouldn’t be.

Motivation refers to the internal satisfaction you get from doing your job well.  Motivated individuals are driven to achieve and will take the initiative. 

                Model Behaviors

1.       You should work hard and be seen working hard.  Get on the floor and out of the office.

2.       You should be proactive, taking the initiative to solve problems or improve your operations.

3.       You should project satisfaction in success, especially when there are few or no external rewards.

Social Skills refers to your ability to manage relationships, particularly in the long term but even in the short term.  This ability to build and nurture relationships refers to those between the boss and the employee, among co-workers and with the customer. 

                Model Behaviors

1.       You should keep the lines of communication open.  You can’t tell your staff everything, but they will appreciate you telling them what you can.

2.       You should be a good listener.

3.       You should persuade instead of order.  Your staff will appreciate knowing the reason behind your action.

4.       You should promote collaboration and discourage competition.  Whenever possible work with your staff to accomplish goals.

5.       You should never gossip.  Don’t listen to it and for goodness sake don’t spread it.

Empathy refers to the most important of the emotional competencies for customer service providers.  It describes the ability to identify and understand the emotions of others and to treat them accordingly – to deliver appropriate customer-centric service based on what you are able to perceive that the customer needs.

                Model Behaviors

1.       You should engage your customers in a meaningful way and provide service based on their needs, not yours.

2.       You should regularly engage your staff in a meaningful way.  Ask them how they are.

3.       You should cut your staff a break when they really need one.  Giving an employee a night off to care for a sick child builds loyalty.


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