Lead Your Hotel With Authenticity
By Mostafa Sayyadi Management Consultant, The Change Leader Consulting Inc | May 17, 2020
Many hotel executives wonder what academic and leadership writers are trying to explain via models. There really is not much difference except that a theoretical framework has been tried and tested while a model may be an application that leaders can learn and teach others. For instance, various models have been presented in an attempt to portray the concept of leadership.
However, there have been several shifts in the study of leadership, and subsequently newer approaches to leadership emerged leading up to the emergence of authentic leadership model. While there are many leadership models that hotel executives can apply, my emphasis will be based upon the authentic leadership model. This article examines authentic leadership model that is directed at developing a better understanding of the concept and evolution of authentic leadership model.
Authentic leaders can build a highly effective hotel through taking a change-oriented leadership approach, which highly manifests itself in talent development, organizational culture, and inspiring vision for the future. They generate a shared and inspiring vision for the future expansion into global markets. Also, they build a learning climate through identifying intellectual capital and empowering them.
Most importantly, they transform hotels by attempting to change the basic values, beliefs, and attitudes of followers so that they are willing to perform beyond their previous or originally level specified by the hotel in their job description. They also contribute to new services to meet dynamic market needs, through inspirational motivation and higher expectations for new and strategic opportunities to meet the needs of customers in the marketplace.
A Birds-Eye View of Leadership
Leadership, when assessed from a distance, is somewhat elusive. Scholars found some mismatches between theoretical concepts of leadership and empirical investigations, and explained that while the theoretical concepts of leadership are extensive, empirical studies could not have sufficiently supported these theoretical concepts. In fact, past studies about leadership lacked a multilevel approach, and only focused on downward control. Not accounting for a middle-level leader who takes a two-way approach to influence both superiors and subordinates---more of liaison.
Another reason was that there is no determined set of variables used to investigate effective leadership, owing to the diversity of leadership theories and models with different perspectives about effective leadership. A third reason relates to studies about leadership that lack a systematic approach and stem from interdisciplinary approaches. Thus, leadership has remained relatively silent on how to integrate theories, methods, and concepts from diverse disciplinary domains to provide a rich basis for understanding the true leadership theoretical and applicable concepts.
There is another reason that leadership studies have failed to disclose the nature of filling the leadership gaps between performance and success. In many instances, there is no direct connection between leadership theories and models, with the exception of one leadership theoretical model----authentic leadership-----which has had an impact upon today's changing situations.
Hotels in general confront challenging situations in which they need to proactively respond to every environmental demand. A comprehensive leadership model can be a basis for understanding and perhaps anticipating these emerging issues. Leadership theoretical models reflect positivist philosophy, which manifests itself in exploring the current situation rather than investigating the most desired situation for a hotel.
The key idea from this particular section of the article is to provide authentic leadership model that has emerged as more applicable and more adaptable today than the many others that are available today. This leadership model will be covered in-depth throughout the rest of the article with the main focal point being introduced here as an emerging model of leadership, which is describes in the following sections.
Leadership is Action, Not Traits
Leadership trait perspective is perhaps the most venerable intellectual tradition in leadership research that highly recommends an approach in which great men and women with certain preferred traits influencing followers to do what the leaders wish. This influence helps followers to achieve group or organizational goals that reflect excellence and some kind of higher order effectiveness. Scholars collect and summarize them as being honest, inspirational, competent and credible. They also identify the following traits: drive (a broad term which includes achievement, motivation, ambition, energy, tenacity, and initiative), leadership motivation (the desire to lead but not to seek power as an end in itself), honesty and integrity, self-confidence (which is associated with emotional stability), cognitive or being able to think- on their -feet ability, and knowledge of the business.
Furthermore, scholars suggest several other traits such as initiative, farsightedness, and integrity. Therefore, leadership trait perspective highlights that a leader is significantly different from other employees, and portrays various traits as a leader. What can leaders take from leadership trait perspective? The most important thing to do is list the traits of great leaders that you know and work with, then figure out how to acquire the traits that you fell will help you to prosper in your hotel.
Empirical studies explain the paradoxes of this perspective, where initially, there exist some mismatches between today's leadership conditions and those traits which have already been determined for leaders. In fact, this paradox reconfirms that some traits that were adaptive in ancestral environments might no longer produce adaptive behaviors in modern environments, especially when these environments dramatically differ, as is the case with those of modern humans running multinational hotels today.
New requirements are continuously required for leadership in global environments today. Subsequently, these traits may have different effects on the followers dependence on the situation, where a trait which aids one's ascension to or success as a leader, might in other ways represent threats to one's success or survival as a leader. The ultimate paradox is that while leadership trait perspective tends to treat personality variables in an atomistic fashion, suggesting that each trait acted singly to determine leadership effects, it highlights that these personality traits could not have a linear impact on the outcomes of leadership, and conversely emphasize the role of other traits as a critical component of this relationship.
It is evident that leadership trait perspective is a weak indicator that has been challenged in terms of successfully developing a limited set of traits for an effective leadership. Leadership trait perspective could not be applicable at the organizational level or even for global implementation. Although there are many issues that boggle the mind about leadership trait perspective, it is one of the perspectives of leadership that gets a great deal of air-time. The key is to see the traits, consider implementing them for yourself and your followers and not anticipate a large change in the leadership gaps that exist in the hotel but simply improve individual performance.
The Seven Practices Hotel Executives Need To Do To Become an Authentic Leader
The key for hotel executives is that seven practices have been determined for authentic leadership:
- Positive psychological capital
- Positive moral perspective
- Leadership process/behavior management
- Follower development
- Organizational context
It is important for hotel executives to develop a positive work climate in which employees more effectively contribute to a hotel's performance and competitive advantage. Hotel executives must also have the desirable expertise about the authentic decision-making process, which identifies moral dilemmas, and then evaluates and selects the best available alternative to be implemented.
Furthermore, hotel executives need to understand that authentic leaders continually understand their own beliefs, strengths, desires, values, and aspirations. These leaders can distinguish the processes and mechanisms whereby an authentic leader influences his/her followers. Authentic leaders can effectively influence their followers through taking various processes such as positive social exchange. Hotel executives should at least be aware of self-awareness and self-regulation by which authentic leaders effectively align their core values and individual interests with institutional interests and their practices.
In fact, a strong alignment can be achieved in values and goals by using a transparent process between leaders and followers. Hotel executives are already aware that an authentic leader takes a coaching role for transforming and developing people. Finally, it is important for hotel executives to develop effective workplaces that promote the depth and range of knowledge access and sharing and provide equal opportunity for all employees at various levels of the hotel in order to actively respond to the constant changes occurring in external environment.
This article has several implications for hotel executives. First, this article adds to a relatively small body of literature and develops our understanding of authentic leadership in hotels. Second, this article develops a new and dynamic conception of authentic leadership within hotels. I advance the current literature on authentic leadership by offering novel insights into how authentic leaders can create new values through a transparent process.
This article also suggests new insights that identify authentic leadership as a primary driver, which influences individual performance in hotels. Further, I suggest that a hotel's ability to recognize the changes occurring in external environments and respond to them can be significantly affected by authentic leadership.
The question posited for hotel executives is to accept the challenge of authentic leadership development in order to address the current gaps in leadership effectiveness and improve their competitiveness in today's changing business environment.
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