Defining Leadership: The ability to persuade others to seek objectives enthusiastically

By Jed Heller President, The Providence Group | October 28, 2008

That fact makes leadership the most important management skill in determining the success of your business. But when I say leadership, I'm not referring to having a commanding presence or using approaches learned in the latest management books. In my mind, leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek objectives enthusiastically. When this happens, everything else falls into place.

In an organization with effective leadership, all employees understand their roles and the importance of those roles within the organization. They have the tools and the knowledge they need to do their jobs. And they know that everyone within the organization has clear performance goals and is expected to meet them.

Each of these ingredients is a natural result of good communication within the organization and a caring leader. Although it's great if you happen to have a dynamic personality, employees are more interested in working for a leader who treats them with respect, gives them the tools they need to be successful, and builds an infrastructure and culture that rewards performance. In the long run, your personal style isn't as important as the substance of what you provide to employees.

Effective Training

Effective training is about more than knowing how to do a particular job. It's about understanding the organization, and how the employee's role contributes. When I was a hotel general manager, I met all employees before they were hired to discuss the organization and their roles within it. I wanted all employees to understand how they contribute to guest satisfaction and the overall success of the organization. They needed to know that to ensure the longevity of their jobs, we needed to create great experiences for guests.

It's also important that training continue throughout employees' tenure. This fulfills two imperatives. First, it assures that employees have the knowledge to do their jobs correctly. Second, the investment in your employees that training represents demonstrates that you care about employees.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.