What makes someone a good restaurant leader?
Many attributes come into play: personality, temperament, experiences, etc…
There are common threads though. Great leaders who positively impact those around them typically have mastered these 5 life skills.
Self-awareness – Dynamic leaders are students of themselves. Meaning, they have worked hard to understand what makes themselves tick. They have taken the time to learn about themselves and their personal strengths and weaknesses. These men and women aren’t afraid to dig deep and unearth their own flaws in order to better themselves. Great leaders are humble enough to know they can always be a little better. They turn to coaches and mentors and seek wise counsel. Great leaders in the restaurant industry need to glean knowledge from experts and advisors in fields both within and outside the food service business.
“Have more humility. Remember you don’t know the limits of your own abilities. Successful or not, if you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life and maybe even please a few strangers.” A.L. Kennedy
Communication – Knowledge, direction, guidance, ideas, and vision are all rendered worthless if not communicated clearly. What good is an army if their commander fails at giving clear orders? Effective restaurant leaders recognize the importance of clear communication. They speak in ways their staff can not only understand but will find engaging as well. For restaurant leaders, this may come with a need to learn a new language or two – at least enough to effectively communicate with the entire staff.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
Connection – Great leaders make an effort to connect and relate to those in their charge. Restaurant managers have more of a chance than most to accomplish this. Working shifts with both FOH and BOH staff creates opportunities to connect with employees. These “in-the-trenches” connections are one of the quickest ways to team-build.
“An employee’s motivation is the direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.”
Bob Nelson, PhD
Macro management – Macro management is the opposite of micro-managing. Where micro managers hover, criticize and pick apart every little detail of an employee’s performance, macro managers delegate responsibility and walk away. Effective, dynamic leaders trust their gut and the people they hired. They trust them to skillfully complete the jobs they were hired and trained to do. The successful leader gives his or her teammates the autonomy to do their jobs and strive for even more responsibility.
“Leaders empower individuals by building trust and coaching competence.”
Kenneth H .Blanchard
Confidence – Dynamic leaders are people of great confidence. They are confident in their abilities to make decisions, lead their team, produce results and see visions through to fruition.
They also spark that confidence in others. This is confidence though, not arrogance. Confident leaders rally the troops during a dinner rush, arrogant rulers frustrate and scatter them. Arrogance comes from ego and vanity. Confidence is produced through success and failure and humbly learning from both. For restaurant managers, this means the entire staff wins when they’re led by a strong, capable and confident manager…one who immediately acknowledges that victory is a team effort.
“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”
Brian Bruce, an author of multiple articles published online and in several industry trade publications, has been cited in multiple news stories as an authority in Executive Restaurant Recruiting. He’s an Executive Restaurant Recruiter with HHB Restaurant Recruiting and recruits nationally. He can be reached at 405-361-7582 and by email at Brian@HeadHunterBrian.com.
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