At National Restaurant Consultants (NRC), our experts give a lot of consideration and energy to the management placement process. We are experienced in locating and educating the best management for restaurants, and we encourage our clients to take the time to hire well. When it comes down to company culture and general employee morale, managers absolutely set the tone, the results of which are carried over into the customer experience. Choosing a manager who understands the responsibility means investing in every other part of your business—from the staff to the environment to quality-control to the customers.
Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) runs a helpful company culture column called Ask Jill! And recently, Jill Raff—a globally recognized EX2CX Advisor who guides executives and business owners toward a more humanized culture prioritizing their people—shared some advice on exactly this topic. “Are your managers ‘managing’ or ‘leading’?” she asks readers, indicating that a successful manager knows the difference between the two and how to execute leadership. “Leaders will focus on those goals to motivate, influence, and inspire their people to achieve them through communicating a common, compelling, and collective vision. This is what separates leaders from managers, not title, power, or control,” she adds.
The value of leadership lies in the culture it creates. Appointed managers who are trained to lead their staff create an environment of shared vision so that employees are not simply following rules and schedules, rather are equally invested in an agreed-upon outcome. When managers-as-leaders encourage voice and participation from all staff members, the group cohesively works toward a shared end, creating fluidity and generating enthusiasm.
According to Jill, the key to raising up leaders is this: stop training! Of course, training is a word we use interchangeably—just as many would consider “managing” and “leading” to be synonyms. But Jill recommends what our restaurant consultants execute: education. “Education in the workplace presents itself as instilling values, cultivating positive thinking, and creating a collaborative experience so that each employee can conceive and act upon productive ideas. By educating employees, it enables them to analyze issues as they arise, to make solid decisions aligned with the company’s core values, i.e. their culture,” Jill explains. Like a classroom where students come together in understanding and engagement, educating employees actually sparks that shared vision needed to keep the collaboration going.
Richard Weil, principal and owner of NRC, has spent his career in staff and management development. “First and foremost is leading by example, followed by being prepared and being able to identify situations,” he says. “Managers who develop the ability to anticipate the situation at-hand and can relate and associate with the staff to create solutions—that is true leadership.”
Our restaurant consultants are experts in staffing restaurants, and especially in identifying leaders fit for management. If your restaurant culture seems disjointed or stifled, consider how your management has been educated and reach out to a restaurant consultant for help.