Editor's Blog

Being a good boss

Why hospitality throws up some surprising results when you ask employees what they really think

Given the frequently demanding nature of working in a hotel or restaurant, you would think employees, given the privacy of an anonymous survey, might have a disparaging comment or two to make about their boss. Stress, long hours, and guest complaints make up a perfect recipe finding work heavy going, and therefore, for thinking your manager is a tyrant, right?

Well not according to a study conducted by One4all, a company that helps business owners find ways to reward and incentivise their staff. It found from a sample of 1,024 UK employees, leisure and travel bosses – such as those in restaurants and hotels – were voted as one of the best categories, with 60% of workers in this sector describing their boss as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Nationally, 60% of the leisure and travel workforce were positive about their bosses – and just 8% described them as ‘poor’ – suggesting that, overall, those working in leisure and travel have a high opinion of their managers.

I was aware that perhaps the essential component of the best hotels is management that can motivate and inspire their staff more than you might see in other industries. But I must admit I was surprised to find these leadership skills are so profoundly effective that some of the hardest work out there correlates with some of the highest-ranked employer-employee relationships in the working world.

Really it should not have been a surprise. I have been frequently interviewing hoteliers about their work for some years now, and I cannot say I have encountered a single example of someone whose heart didn’t really seem to be in it. It seems almost a universal trait: an unshakeable passion for rendering quality service, and immense job satisfaction when the guest is clearly delighted with the experience.

Few other fields throw up quite so many characters with this kind of flare for their work, and in a sense it’s what make the hotel industry one of the most dynamic trades to ply.

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Michael Northcott

Michael is the editor of Hotel Owner magazine. He draws from experience at a wide range of B2B magazines, including Management Today, Legal Business, Retail Week and Jewellery Focus. Feel free to drop him a line with any stories or feature ideas.

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