Okay, class, time for number three … your third lesson in “How to Be a Hospitality Pro … or, How I Became One in My Spare Time.”
You may remember from my last two articles, The Hospitality Professional: Part One and Part Two, that a Hospitality Pro is far different from a hospitality worker. A hospitality worker works in the hospitality industry. But a pro is something different. Let’s go over the definition once again.
Hospitality is defined as … to create an enriching and sustaining environment for others.
And professional is defined as … one who through long years of study, preparation and experience has become an expert in a particular subject or field of endeavor.
So a hospitality professional is … one who through long years of study and experience has become expert in the act of creating a sustaining and enriching environment for others.
No matter what the level, from frontline to supervisor, from executive to vice president, if you wanna be great, then you got to be a professional (and I know many of you are, whether you knew it or not).
I’ve written about a Hospitality Pro’s pre-shot routine and ability to em-pa-the-tize. So, without further ado, the next item on our checklist of professional skills for the hospitality pro is “setting the example.”
Or call it leadership by example or walking in their shoes or whatever you will, but I think you all know what it means.
Walk the talk, get your hands dirty, pitch in, execute the very behaviors that you hold dear and want those around you to embody. You don’t have to be a manager, and you don’t have to be any kind of authority figure. It is enough that those around you, regardless of your position, be it frontline or CEO, see you doing it and doing it right.
This, believe it or not, is one of the hardest lessons to learn, one of the hardest skills to master. Not because doing it is hard, but because doing it over and over and over and over and over and over again, consistently, patiently, visibly and without fanfare, takes the kind of commitment and discipline that really requires you to WORK at it.
How many times have we passed that piece of paper on the floor, brushed off a guest who wanted our attention because we were busy, walked around with our head down or buried in a phone instead of greeting and noticing people? How many times have we sat in a meeting, daydreaming about something else, casting furtive glances sideways at our phone waiting for it to ring or ding when we really should have been investing our time and attention in the people around us?
How many times have we looked back and realized that we haven’t recognized or rewarded anyone on our team in the last week or two, when we know they’ve done some outstanding work? How many times have we caught ourselves not PAYING ATTENTION to others and the little things they do because we were so wrapped up in our own self-importance?
Good questions all, and we are all guilty of answering them in the negative. But all is not lost. Leadership by example is something that we can start or continue at anytime, anywhere, with anyone in our workspace. It always works, because it is silent and effective, and it always makes you a better Hospitality Pro, one who promotes and reinforces the importance of what we do … which, if you remember, is to sell an entertainment experience that … ENRICHES OUR GUESTS’ LIVES (the Hospitality Pro’s credo).
So, examination time. Time to examine your own actions during this last crazy year of pandemics and coups and shutdowns and madness. Have you been setting the example, walking the talk, doing the right thing? It is a key attribute of your professionalism and one that you must cultivate and encourage every second of every minute of every day. It really will make the world, especially YOUR world … a better place.
I guarantee it.