Introduction – Stay strong when things get tough
Everyone experiences dry periods. Times when you and your staff aren’t clicking or when business plateaus. The way you respond to these phases determines whether or not you make it through or deteriorate. The following are five practices to implement at the first signs of a dip in morale or business.
There are typically warning signs before things go sour. It’s impossible for one person to be aware of every minute detail of your restaurant. For this reason, and others, it’s important to check in with your staff regularly, on a one-on-one basis. People share more openly when they don’t have an audience. Further, it is good to have a personal connection with each staff member. This inspires their commitment and enables you to rightly asses where they are coming from if their performance flags. People are a world unto themselves. If you don’t take the time to get to know your staff, the functioning of your restaurant will remain a mystery to you.
Affirming good performance is an fundamental component to effective management. Simply, people need to know what is working. Further, on a human level, affirmations encourage and inspire people to be better. If offering affirmations does not come natural to you, start by writing quick notes of affirmation to your staff, rather than addressing them personally. Above all, make sure your praise is sincere. The only thing worse than neglecting to affirm proper behavior is to offer hollow praise. No one responds well to being patronized. Be genuine. It will pay off.
Whether you like it or not, your behavior sets the tone for the workplace. If you show up regularly disgruntled and complain about everything, you will create a negative environment. Your staff will live to clock out, and that is not a situation conducive to success. Before walking into the restaurant, remind yourself of what you are grateful for, in relation to the restaurant. Get into a good head space, and inspire your staff to do the same.
Often times if business is slow, it means you need to change something up. Encourage your staff to make suggestions and spearhead new practices within the restaurant. Everyone wants their life and work to have meaning. Most people will relish the opportunity to make their time at work more fulfilling; developing new practices or initiatives and embracing new responsibilities is a sure way to foster greater fulfillment in the workplace. Start by identifying the member(s) of your staff that demonstrate the most initiative, and experiment with one of their ideas. Their success will spur their peers to step up their game.
It is easy to lose sight of your staff’s humanity. People often view their workplace peers as simply means to an end rather than a good in themselves. Provide opportunities for your staff to engage in team-building activities. People who can share laughs and positive memories together work more effectively. Allowing some moments for fun will ensure that your staff is in sync.
There’s no “us and them” when managing a restaurant. You and your staff are a team. When life throws you obstacles, your success in overcoming them will be directly proportional to the strength of your staff. Restaurants plagued by division crumble. Make sure your team is unified.
Challenge: Send each member of your team a quick note of appreciation.
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