Hospitality people are bubbly, energetic and generally positive. It is what we do. We happily Serve!
Even though this is a general perception, when I was coming up in the hospitality world, at times in my career, our internal culture was full of negativity.
I remember some of my managers looking to find blame when things went wrong. They were not solution orientated. They consistently focused on the individuals or departments that made mistakes and often highlighted their failures.
Additionally, I witnessed my leaders looking to bolster their standing by pointing out others’ faults. This environment wasn't very much fun to work in, and unfortunately, this happened in more than one of my hotels during my career.
Now, this wasn’t everywhere. I worked for, and with some great leaders, but for this post, I am referencing the not so great bosses I had in my career.
As my responsibilities grew as a manager, I knew a negative environment was not what I wanted to foster. Throughout my career, I had two particular strategies to help overcome negativity in the workspace.
Strategy #1-Always be helpful and "Do the Right Thing."
Implement a concentrated effort to become the most helpful. Whether as a department or as an individual, be the first one to volunteer for new assignments. Take on additional responsibilities and make sure you consistently communicate updates on your efforts.
In short, always "Do the Right Thing" and assist your fellow team members in elevating your guest’s experience.
What are the benefits of this strategy?
Your colleagues will recognize you as someone to be counted on to assist. You become a "go to" person and become known for your efforts.
You eliminate the awkward silence. When a new task arises, because you will always be the first to volunteer, volunteerism will become infectious. Soon after, everyone will begin volunteering as well, and collaborative efforts will become the standard.
When recognized as a helpful team member, respect is generated, and your colleagues will become more forgiving to you. In the future, when you make a mistake, and you will, others will be more understanding and “cut you more slack.”
A culture of collaboration will be born. Team members will never be afraid again to ask for assistance, and everyone will enjoy assisting each other.
Strategy #2- Positive Friday
A little background- In my hotel career, we regularly held daily standup meetings to help prepare for the day's activity.
On Fridays, in addition to our standard agenda, we added a time where we would all share the most positive team member experience we witnessed over the past week.
The goal: Recognize in real-time, not on comment cards or client reviews, the positive actions of our team members and acknowledge how they helped us achieve our goals and commitments.
During our Friday meeting, we would all be responsible for sharing the most inspiring story we witnessed from our departments.
"Positive Friday" became an event. Attendance in our meetings went up. Multiple managers from each department began to attend the meeting as often as possible. Everyone wanted to participate.
It not only allowed us to share all of the great things our team members were doing throughout the week, but it facilitated positive reinforcement. Our team would consistently go out and recognize the individuals mentioned in the previous week's stories and reinforce their positive actions.
The benefits of this strategy:
Our leaders actively spent more time on the floor looking for the positive contributions our team members made throughout the week.
Our leaders publically shared experiences with all of their peers in our weekly Positive Friday meeting. This promoted positivity cross-departmentally.
All of the leaders who attended Positive Friday, would then go out and recognize the individuals mentioned in the stories and thank them for a job well done.
Healthy competition is a good thing, and Positive Friday became a friendly competition for who shared the best story.
Positivity is contagious. Without any better way to say it, Positive Friday "Became a Thing!"
Every business has negativity that creeps into the culture whether you want it or not.
What will you do to stomp out negativity and create a more positive work environment in your workspace?