Being a restaurant manager isn’t exactly an easy task. You’re dealing with schedules, good and bad employees, budgets, customers, and now a whole pandemic to top it all off. It’s a lot to take on.
One thing that you may stop and ask yourself from time to time is whether or not you are being an effective manager. Are you really reaching your employees or are they just blowing you off and talking negatively behind your back? Is there something you should be doing differently?
Believe it or not, your actions as a manager have extensive and prevailing impacts. Manager personalities generally shape the way a business is run and heavily influence the company culture. A strong manager can build a highly productive team of loyal, happy employees while an ineffective one can have them running towards the door in quick succession.
What Is a Strong Manager?
There’s a lot that goes into a strong manager, and it certainly isn’t necessarily muscle and power. Rather, a strong manager has the ability to listen and empathize with the struggles that employees are having both at work and in their personal lives. Additionally, good managers are constantly taking feedback and working to improve themselves.
But though listening skills are highly important in a managerial position, they are not the sole factor. Leadership skills are another valuable quality in a successful manager. Leaders bring a level of organization and productivity to a business, not through sheer force of will, but through a leadership style that promotes employee morale and performance. Study after study has shown that happy employees are not only more productive, but also likely to remain with the company for longer.
Finally, good managers are those that realize that they aren’t perfect and don’t expect their employees to be either. These managers hire people that can compliment their weaknesses and those that are eager to learn new skills. They also focus on building people up for their successes rather than tearing them down for the things they have difficulty with.
Of course, being a good manager is even more difficult than it used to be, even just a few short (long!) months ago. The Covid-19 pandemic has put a twist on just about everything in our lives. Many managers are working on adapting to the new normal where different styles of service have to be implemented and employees have a whole boatload of other burdens that may not have existed before. For example, they may be trying to work while their kids are out of school with no daycare lined up.
Around the business, more effort may be going into preparing food for delivery or take out than ever before and some employees may be taking on different roles to fill the gaps. New and stricter rules on cleanliness are going into effect such as extreme handwashing and regular disinfecting of all surfaces in the building. Supply chains may be in disarray, making the menu more limited. Employees may have to be tested on a regular basis which can cause all sorts of stress.
A manager’s leadership is more important than ever here. You are the link for communication between the staff and the upper management and it’s your job to communicate both new policies and concerns each direction. Your support and understanding are critical components to the success of the company during these trying times.
Making a Change
If you find that your employees are struggling or that retention is low, perhaps it does come down to your management style and it is time for you to make a real change in how you’re running things. It won’t necessarily be easy, but the key is to stick to the major management principles. These include things like listening, communicating, building people up, leading by example, and respecting employees.
Regardless of whether you are a wonderful manager or not, Covid may force you into some of these changes. The best practice here is to work on being adaptable. Things probably will not go back to normal any time soon if at all. Your ability to roll with the changes and keep a positive attitude is critical for employees to see.
Start by making changes to the things you catch yourself doing. For instance, if you catch yourself not paying attention or jumping to conclusions when an employee is explaining something to you, stop. Listen to what they are saying and actively try to provide support and/or solutions. Respect employees by listening and building them up — you may not be their friend, but there is no reason they have to hate you.
Becoming a good leader and working to change your current management style into a better one is not easy. Good managers are coveted by the employees they’re in charge of and surprisingly difficult to find. Though the pandemic is likely forcing you to adapt in unexpected ways, work on remaining a strong communicator and providing your team with the support they need to be successful in this environment.