Lessons on Leadership and Management

By Ken Edwards Owner and CEO, HMBookstore and Tristar Hotel Group | June 26, 2016

As hospitality industry executives, being an effective leader is essential for running our companies successfully and promoting a positive work environment for higher productivity and lower attrition rates among our employees.

We learn about, and encounter, effective leadership skills from a variety of avenues such as books/articles, first hand experience, education classes, peer discussions, etc. What we don't hear as much about is how important strong management skills are to the organization. For any business to really thrive, consideration of both skill sets is necessary, especially in hospitality.

"Manage" comes from the Latin word for "a hand," to handle resources, money and people. "Lead" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "laed" meaning a journey, a road and a way. While leaders are strategically focused and set the vision for the organization, managers are technically oriented and set the plan to achieve it. Leaders innovate, focus on people, and ask "What?" and "Why?" while managers administer and focus on system and structures, asking "How?" and "When?"

Leaders and managers working in balance together can elevate a "good" hospitality business to the "great" category. While all businesses need leaders to encourage people, set an example, care about the team, and evangelize company beliefs, they also require managers to tactically execute tasks, define team member roles and drive for results.

Effective leaders often possess these five traits: ability to delegate effectively, offers encouragement, chart the course, set the example and knows their secret weapon.

Delegating Effectively

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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.