Leadership is the Key to Becoming a Good Manager

December 14, 2016|

Presentation and collaboration by business peopleBy Bob Johnson

Recently I wrote a column with suggestions on becoming a better leader. This was asked of me by a bar manager who had been “thrown” into a management position because he was really good at what he was doing previously. It was “assumed” he must have the abilities to be a good manager because of his previous great work performance. In other words, he got promoted to his level of incompetence.

In the bar business I learned a long time ago that you have to have the horses to pull the wagon. No horses? You won’t go very far and you’ll end up hating your job. You’ve got to continually feed your horses and continually steer them in the right direction! They must be fed (or led?) into performing.

You’ve got to make your team like you and respect you. It’s not going to happen just because you wear a name tag that says manager.

Think about using some of these techniques I have used over the years. They work!

Never walk past or delay an action that needs immediate attention. If you do so you’re just saying to the world, “That’s not my problem.” In other words, “I know it’s wrong and I just approved it by doing nothing about it.” You can’t do that as a leader – ever!

Understand strengths and weaknesses. Every member of your staff has a bunch of each, including you.  Don’t ask someone to do something they’re not qualified for (or capable of) and expect positive results.

Know something about every one of your employees outside of work. Are they going to school? If so, what are they studying? What are their hobbies? Do they like to travel? Would they be interested in going into management one day?

It’s amazing how many outside-of-work skills can be used in your business.

I once hired a cocktail waitress who was studying music at a local university. I made her my entertainment director and she loved her second job. During a casual interview one of my employees mentioned how much he loved doing landscaping. Guess who improved the entranceway to our club? Your employees probably have an abundance of talents that can be used for the betterment of your business. Find out what they are. Use them. They’ll love you for it.

Value the little things. Enhance your team family capability by remembering everyone’s birthday! It’s simple to do, it works, and every member of your staff will appreciate being recognized by everyone else on their special day. Get a cake, or order a couple of pizzas, start a birthday pool where everyone chips in a couple of bucks and gives the cash to the birthday employee at the end of the night.

Look like a manager. Dress appropriately. Keep a change of clothes with you in case you have to get out of your suit or dress to do a dirty job!

You’ll never need a name tag that says manager if you always look poised and don’t over-react to anything! You must always stay calm, cool and collected under the most difficult situations!

Hide your tattoos and body piercings. No trendy haircuts. Stay clean shaven. Look like you’re in a position of importance. Ladies – don’t overdo the make-up or the jewelry. Avoid high heels and clothes that are uncomfortable to work in.

Always be early for work. Keep a list of things to do that you refer to everyday. Always be willing to stay late, if necessary. Lead!

Don’t play favorites, ever. You’ll lose respect.  One of the most demeaning acts a manager can commit is showing favoritism to less qualified staff. This takes the wind right out of your team family sail.

Display a great sense of humor. Make it a part of your personality. But know when, how and where to draw the line. Business always comes first.

Treat your employees better than you do your customers. Walt Disney said that. I’d say he was pretty successful in the hospitality field, wouldn’t you?

Make sure everyone is making money. Don’t kid yourself – no one in this business works for minimum wage. If they’re not making money, you need to find out why and then do something about it. Give them more training or split shifts more fairly so everyone has a chance to make money. Otherwise, they’ll find work elsewhere. The last thing you need is more turnover.

Bob Johnson has more than 50 years’ experience in the food and beverage industry. After years of running a successful bar management business in San Diego, he and his wife, Lisa, moved to North Augusta. In addition to authoring books on bar management, he also teaches a mobile bartending school, a bar management workshop and a bartending school for military veterans. Contact him at bobthebarguy.com or 800-447-4384.

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