Managing a restaurant or being a shift supervisor requires a special set of skills. Yes, knowing about the restaurant industry is important. Understanding labor scheduling, inventory, food cost and payroll is vital in being able to lead your staff, but there are other important traits that will help you excel when leading a team in your restaurant. Here are 5 characteristics of a successful leader.
All managers want their employees to bring their A game every day. They have high expectations and desire hard work from their team, but don’t always know how to bring that out in them. Some employees are self-starters, but the majority will need a little motivation to keep giving it their all. Last week we talked about low cost ways to reward employees and gave a few examples such as, highlighting an employee on social media or allowing an employee to create a signature menu item. This is a great place to start. Another way to be a motivator is to allow time for team building days where employees can grow together as a team outside of work. This can be tough with store hours and schedules, but is good to consider. You can go paintballing, go-kart racing, bowling or anything you think your team might enjoy. This kind of recreation is fun, allows everyone to work together and creates stronger bonds that can carry over to the workplace.
2. Be Teachable
A great leader is always learning, humble and able to admit when they don’t know the answer. Allowing others to see you learn or ask for help when you need it, will show them that it is ok to admit when you don’t know something. As a manager, you want your employees to be teachable, so you should model that in your position as well. Being teachable means that you are willing to learn from not just those who are older and more experienced than you, but being humble enough to know that sometimes the younger generation, with less experience, can teach you a thing or two as well.
3. Manage Stress
Work can be stressful, and running a restaurant is no exception. Between scheduling employees, people not showing up for their shift, not having enough help, cash flow management, inventory management, etc., managers have a lot on their plate. In order to manage your stress you will want to identify the main causes. You can do this by keeping a journal of when you feel most stressed and determining what it was that caused it and learning ways to best respond. It could mean shifting your schedule around, finding small times for a break, and learning new breathing techniques.
4. Ability to Delegate Tasks
We have already uncovered that a manager’s job is never ending. Delegating tasks is an essential characteristic of a good leader. Knowing how to spot other leaders within your team and asking them to step up and help not only takes some of the load off your shoulders, but it allows your employees to develop new skills and expand their knowledge of the industry. When employees are given more responsibility, along with motivation and praise, they are likely to thrive and continue working for you because they feel valued and appreciated.
5. Be Approachable
When your employees feel comfortable coming to you with questions, concerns or even positive comments, you are creating strong work relationships where people feel safe and valued. So how do you become an approachable leader? Be a good listener. Stay open minded when employees are sharing their opinions with you and ask a lot of questions before responding, jumping to conclusions or giving your answer on a particular topic. Lean into your compassionate side and listen with empathy. These reactions may not normally be your first response, but the more you put them into practice, the easier it will become and your team will become stronger because of it.
Being a successful restaurant leader will help your business thrive in many ways. Your team will work more efficiently and you will more than likely see an increase in employee retention. Being a leader doesn’t always mean being right or having all of the answers. Motivate your employees, create a safe environment for people to show up and discuss issues that arise, delegate tasks, and identify stress points to help you reduce your stress. Possessing these characteristics will take you farther and allow your business to flourish.