Independent and Empowered: A letter to my manager by Bryan Williams
July 3, 2014 6:41am
(Dedicated to all hospitality employees who work with passion, pride and professionalism)
As our country prepares to celebrate the Independence Day holiday, it made me think about what it truly means to be "independent". Especially as it relates to those of us working on the front lines of the hospitality industry. To me, independence means to be free…without restrictions. As a concierge, bellman, housekeeper or server, I need to know that my manager trusts and believes in me enough to empower me to serve with excellence. No, I don't mean just having a clever mission statement that claims that the staff is empowered. Rather, does my manager encourage me to think independently to come up with a solution to a guest problem? Does my manager genuinely solicit my input and ideas, then challenge me to help implement those ideas? Does my manager empower me to recognize my peers (in my department and others)? Does my manager challenge me to go beyond merely meeting expectations, and seek ways to exceed them?
All of those things are key to fostering a culture of independence. Guests judge the quality of the hotel by the responsiveness of the first person they speak with to address their issue. Trust me, I want to work like I own it, but I also need you, my manager, to treat me like I own it. Being exceptional is a deeply personal decision. No one can MAKE me work like I own it. Whenever people do things they don't like to do, it shows. However, since I have honor for what I do, I will consistently strive to do my work in the best possible light.
Chances are that I may never tell you to challenge me, but I need you to. Chances are that I may never tell you to recognize me for a job well done, but I need you to.
There is nothing quite like coming to work with the expectation that I can do whatever it takes to create memorable experiences for our guests. As long as it is legal, ethical and moral, I need the independence to find a way to make it happen.
Although I know that I am independent, I also know that I can't create a culture of service excellence on my own. I need my team mates and other departments. If we all share the same mindset, then every touchpoint will be exceptional for every guest every day. My dream is for everyone in this hotel, restaurant and spa to share the same mantra:
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Contact: Bryan Williams
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