Could HR solve…? Home Alone 2

Both staff and customers suffer due to a manager’s lack of Christmas spirit

The problem

High-end hotel concierge Mr Hector is constantly rebuking his bellboy, Cedric, for failing to uphold the high etiquette standards of New York’s luxury Plaza Hotel – such as by counting tips in public. However, as soon as Hector’s back is turned, Cedric ignores his manager’s feedback and continues his unprofessional behaviour. Is Hector’s negative attitude creating a toxic, resentful working relationship within his team? 

The solution

Hector’s behaviour is not a true representation of the business, as hotels are a people-focused industry, explains Jon Dawson, group director of people development at Lore Group.

Dawson says most managers in hospitality don’t adopt Hector’s outdated leadership style because this type of behaviour “would not be tolerated” by well-run organisations. He adds that many hotels have people management tools in place such as an open-door policy and employee engagement surveys to support a people-focused culture.

If managers are belittling employees like Cedric who are still making the same faux pas, Dawson suggests a different approach is required. “You can keep up strong service etiquette by focusing on your hotel culture and delivering service in a kind, polite manner. This is translated through your leaders by appropriate hiring, training and performance development activities.”

Instead of putting his team members down, Hector should conduct daily briefings to give praise and feedback. This, according to Dawson, is a key tool for leaders to “help the team recognise what ‘good’ looks like”. Putting strong communication structures in place also benefits both the workforce and its employers, he says.