This is the best definition of management I have ever come across: “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.
The Difference Between Competence and Excellence
All industries demand particular skills and actions from their employees. In some industries, hard skills are exclusively important. In the restaurant and bar business, this is not the case. Hard skills are certainly a significant part of the equation, but possession of these hard skills is only a predictor of competence. 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. 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. 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.
Five Key Components of Emotional Intelligence
Your employees are always watching you and their coworkers 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.
1. Self-Awareness refers to the ability of 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.
- As a manager, you should be confident without being arrogant. Confidence aligns with true ability, while arrogance includes an overestimation of the same.
- Seek input from others. Asking for advice from trusted subordinates and colleagues is not a sign of weakness — it’s a sign of strength.
2. Self-Regulation refers to your ability to control your impulses and moods. The food-and-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.
- Stay calm, especially at the busiest times. Your employees will appreciate it in the moment and work to do the same in the future.
- Avoid emotional outbursts. It’s unprofessional and immature. Would you want your staff described as either? Right …then you shouldn’t be.
3. Motivation refers to the internal satisfaction you get from doing your job well. Motivated individuals are driven to achieve and will take the initiative.
- Work hard and be seen working hard. Get on the floor and out of the office.
- Be proactive, taking the initiative to solve problems or improve your operations.
- Project satisfaction in success, especially when there are few or no external rewards.
4. 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 coworkers and with the customer.
- Keep the lines of communication open.
- Be a good listener.
- Persuade instead of ordering.
- Promote collaboration and discourage competition.
- Never gossip. Don’t listen to it and for goodness sake don’t spread it.
5. 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.
- Engage your customers in a meaningful way and provide service based on their needs, not yours.
- Regularly engage your staff in a meaningful way.
- 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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This article originally appeared on Nightclub.com. For more articles by Professor Brian Warrener that appeared on Nightclub.com please click here.