Oh what a week. We launched a menu in one of our restaurants, we have implemented new marketing strategies, embraced new technologies and we held a leadership off-site with our most senior staff across our two venues…
To say my team have been working around the clock the last few weeks is an understatement and all this in the lead up to a busy Easter long weekend. However in the midst of the chaos we took one day to get together and discuss strategy, budgets and leadership in our restaurants. We got out of the venues, rented a room with a view of the water and brainstormed as a team.
I led the program and discussion for most of the day but decided to invite my business mentor to speak to my team about leadership. It was what I had hoped it would be and more. Our guest speaker was inspiring, thoughtful and educational. For the majority of the day we discussed customer experience, training, reputation and expectations so when our guest speaker focused on what it means to be a leader, at any level in a business, we were hooked.
Here is what I learned:
Put things into perspective. We deal with so many problems day to day whether its an operational issue, staff performance or a customer complaint that its easy to get bogged down in the negativity and stress. However as leaders we need to put things into perspective. How bad is it really and what is the worst outcome? Most of the time its not as bad, or as hard, as we think.
Lead with compassion. We all lead lives outside of work and we all have challenges in our lives. Family and friends get sick. Relationships break down. Financial stress can be a factor. Regardless of what the situation is, be the leader who is compassionate and willing to help when you can and where appropriate.
Be kind. It seems so simple yet when we are busy and under the pump we can sometimes forget to be kind to each other. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and as a leader show kindness. This will create culture. A culture that will help the business grow. A culture that will retain your best people and a culture that will lead to genuine passion for work.
You can’t do it all. The human brain can manage about four to five different tasks at once but no more. When you think you have a million things to do at any given time, pick the top four priorities and focus on doing those well. Accept that you can’t do everything but what you chose to focus on is what will be done to the highest standard.
I have to say that the day I spent with my leadership team was one of the most rewarding I have had in a long time. I believe that everyone learned something new. We all agreed on standards and expectations and left on the same page. We felt inspired to be better leaders and we loved being away from the venues for one day to discuss what we never get time to do day to day. I learned more about what my team feared, what they struggled with and what I now need to do to help them learn so they can grow in their roles.
My advice to Restaurant Owners, invest in an off-site day with your team. It will open your eyes to their strengths and ideas. It will re-energise you as a group and will bring you together to share information and agree on a path forward. Bring someone in who has nothing to do with your business day-to-day but who is credible and will inspire your team with a different perspective and way of thinking.