By Andrew Johnstone
Possessing listening skills is one of the most important requirements for holding a job in hospitality management. That may not seem obvious at first, but when you think about everything involved in restaurant and hotel management, this statement makes perfect sense. Hospitality is defined as kindness to strangers and as a relationship process. The best definition focuses on the relationship and process aspects, because anyone working in the hospitality business knows that it takes ongoing attention and consideration to properly serve people in a way they appreciate.
Being a good hospitality manager means being able to identify the needs of customers and staff. This often comes down to being a good listener. A good listener pays attention when people talk and doesn't assimilate the information with pre-conceived notions. A good listener is able to separate the important information from the rest of what is said and use that information to improve service. In other words, good listening skills can be considered both a motivational and customer service tool.
Goal Driven Hospitality
As a restaurant or hotel manager you have several goals to always keep in mind.
* Keep customers satisfied with service and hospitality.
* Find creative solutions to potential problems.
* Develop ways to stay competitive.
* Be responsive to customer needs.
* Maintain productive staff working environment that promotes creativity and maintains morale.
These are major goals that require a well-trained manager who has the right listening skills in addition to the ability to generate new ideas that can be successfully implemented.
Good listening skills involve much more than just hearing what people are saying. As a restaurant, hotel or even cosmetology manager, you have to be able to read between the lines and determine what services or problems you need to address. People often express ideas or concerns indirectly and it's up to the manager to properly interpret what is being said. The hospitality industry is extremely competitive and that makes customer satisfaction a top priority.
But a good manager also learns to listen to his or her staff. A commercial cook, patisserie or gourmet chef, or a hotel manager must develop a team of people that work well together. The staff must have the same vision and the same commitment to customer service as the manager. Being able to listen to staff needs also is imperative in order to be a good manager.
Ideas That Motivate
The hospitality business is fast-paced and demanding. The more the staff works like a team, the smoother the operation. Managers are responsible for coordinating the efforts of a diverse group of people. But staff also will have great ideas about how to improve operations and how to add or improve services to improve customer satisfaction. A sign of a good manager is one who is able to listen to the ideas and then make decisions as to their use in a way that motivates and does not discourage staff.
Hospitality management is all about creating customer satisfaction in a highly competitive and fast-paced environment by motivating employees to provide great service. That's why listening skills are needed in hospitality management!
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