How to Prepare for a Leadership Role
Deb Ward / JANUARY 19 2021

Maybe you’ve just started your career in hospitality, but you want to begin preparing for a leadership role in the near future. This industry is known for quick advancement through the ranks. How can you develop the skills and the vision that helps you stand out for your next promotion?

It takes practice and commitment to become an effective leader. It’s a skill you nurture and develop throughout your career. Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing the right move to make. Practice these qualities to expand your future possibilities:

  • The heart of hospitality is people. Your leadership goal is to create a cohesive team that makes the best use of talents at every level. Practice observing the strengths and weaknesses of your team members and look for ways to improve each individual as well as the team’s performance.
  • Be accountable for solving problems. In hospitality, you often work long hours and changing shifts and it’s a dynamic environment….anything can happen. Be ready to take control and be accountable for solving problems that arise. Demonstrate a “can do” attitude by being a team member others can trust.
  • Be adaptable. Flexibility is the name of the game in hospitality. Be ready to tackle any task at hand, such as responding to a weary traveler’s needs, and be available to pitch in with whatever needs to be done.
  • Be team-oriented. That means working well with everyone… co-workers, managers, customers, vendors, and guests. Make valuable use of your resources and time while showing a positive attitude at all times.
  • Demonstrate Integrity. Doing the right thing even when no one is looking is the only option. Being a trustworthy person and modeling that behavior will gain you the recognition and trust you need to move ahead.
  • Develop your social and emotional intelligence. Train yourself to be aware of your reactions to a variety of situations as well as how your teammates and guest react to you. Learn to remain calm and focused on solutions. This is a life skill that is vital to success in a people business like tourism and hospitality.
  • Actively listen. Have an open mind and listen to everyone’s perspective and ideas… especially those who are doing the job day-to-day. This is the key to aligning everyone’s purpose and sharing a set of goals for success. 
  • Show empathy. Great leaders understand that they need to motivate and inspire their teams and build a culture of authentic leadership. Being able to connect and engage with people, strengthen relationships and establish common values comes from sincerely caring about your teammates.
  • Exhibit respect. Be fair with everyone. Be sure to pass along praise as well as share the blame when needed. Managers need to respect their employees as individuals and see them as a vital part of the team. Applauding achievements and celebrating good attitudes go a long way towards creating a positive work environment.

A few parting words

Continue learning by working alongside another department for a day or experimenting with a new process that may work better than your current approach. Try to understand everyone’s job and how it contributes to the success of the team.

Find a mentor who can share his/her experience and hard-won knowledge. Meet for coffee with a manager and let them know of your interest to grow professionally.

Start acting like a leader today. Get organized, create to-do lists, and work efficiently.  Read and learn about the industry and aim to impress.