In an industry notorious for turnover, retaining a solid team of employees is an important slice of the success pie. Managing people effectively is a multi-layered skill set that develops over time. It can be challenging, frustrating, infuriating – but sometimes very rewarding. When any group of people are together regularly, conflict is inevitable. I often remind members of The Corporate Caterer community: “You may feel the people you are working with are impeding your progress, but you will have challenges to face and issues that arise with any group of personalities you are managing.”
#1 Tailor your style
Managing a staff effectively is no small task. We work in an environment where oftentimes the unexpected is commonplace. Amid this organized chaos, skillful supervisors recognize that communicating to different people requires tailoring your style to individual personalities. How you motivate one person may be the way to motivate another. Employee A may need regular guidance, whereas Employee B may perform at their peak when given a lot of autonomy.
#2 Remain consistent
Owner-operators, managers and supervisors wear many hats. In a given day, they may need to play the role of mentor, teacher, psychologist, disciplinarian, decision-maker, factfinder, problem-solver, motivator and mediator. To successfully build a solid team with minimal turnover, consistency is a key ingredient, just as it is with food and services. If your staff can rely on you to communicate with them and respond to their situations with consistency, they will know what your expectations are for any situation, and they should anticipate the consequences of not meeting your expectations.
#3 Train yourself
If we want our employees working to reach their potential, we have the same responsibility. While nothing beats real-world experience, it’s important to read books, blogs and articles about anything related to “the art of managing a staff.” Consider taking conflict resolutions seminars, consulting with human resource professionals and checking in with colleagues, including friends and advisors in different professions. The Corporate Caterer also offers private coaching services that deal with this, and other topics that are customized to your own operation.
"Reaching out for help can lead to useful insight and different perspectives through the lens of someone completely disconnected from your day-to-day operation."
#4 Ask for outside opinions
If I am having an internal conflict about a particular employee situation, I sometimes ask for the opinion of a friend, family member or anyone whose opinion I value by asking “I’d like to ask your opinion about a situation I am having with an employee.” Reaching out for help can lead to useful insight and different perspectives through the lens of someone completely disconnected from your day-to-day operation.
#5 Excellence starts at the top
Unlike our employees, we do not always have the guidance of a manager to assess our performance. As a result, being open-minded and motivated to improve as a boss is an important obligation you have to your business, your staff and yourself. We are all a work in progress. If you are going to talk to talk, you need to walk the walk.
If you expect your employees to be enthusiastic, conscientious, and customer service driven, those in charge must cultivate an environment where nothing less is expected. Staff takes cues from their supervisor(s), as they set the bar for what is and is not acceptable. Decide what the underlying principles of working for your operation are going to be. Then live, breathe, and enforce them. Find the balance between empathizing with and coaching your employees, while creating a culture of high-standards and excellence.
See Michael Rosman at Catersource 2018! Click here for a description of his session.