Inma Muñoz is General Manager at Iberostar Grand Portals Nous and a 2013 graduate of Les Roches Marbella’s Postgraduate in International Hotel Management
The ability of organizations to form and maintain motivated and cohesive teams acquires special relevance in times of difficulty and uncertainty such as the one we are currently experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospitality and tourism industry is not immune to this uncertainty and now finds itself facing the challenge of adapting to the changes that are coming.
Team management is something exciting and what I enjoy most about my profession in hospitality management, but it is also without a doubt a very delicate area to manage and whose repercussions can go far beyond what can be foreseen in the short term dynamics of an organization.
“Increasingly, it is becoming clear that one of the basic pillars for success in team management is the fact that the relationship between leaders and team members is based on trust. Our teams must see us as accessible and know that they have our support.”
Increasingly, it is becoming clear that one of the basic pillars for success in team management is the fact that the relationship between leaders and team members is based on trust. Our teams must see us as accessible and know that they have our support.
This trust is directly related to what we call “empowerment”, that is, to delegate or grant that power, autonomy, and responsibility to workers so that they can perform tasks or solve problems without having to obtain prior approval from a superior. One of the most common mistakes in a leader is to want to control everything, and to move to an authoritarian leadership where, far from delegating, power is concentrated in the leader, who directs through orders without taking into account the opinion of his or her team.
Understanding the need to tailor management styles to the team’s characteristics and circumstances, with a proper balance between delegation and trust, on the one hand, and proper oversight and demand on the other, is crucial to organizational success and It is something that is studied as a typical subject in management-focused courses. If there is something that my teams know, it is that I prefer that they be wrong when making a decision than simply not making a decision at all. Although, for this, they must feel two things: that the responsibility is not only of the leader but that it is shared and that the latter will have their back, supporting them as necessary. We are often surprised by the ideas that the teams have and how decisive they can be when they are given wings.
These ideas and talents that we talk about are always present in the team, but we don’t always know how to see these traits. When workers feel heard and recognized, their commitment to the company and their contribution to it increases accordingly. It is important to try to value, evaluate, and put the ideas into action that your team provides you. If they are good ideas, you will have started something good and you will have an extremely motivated worker since the idea was theirs and it was successfully implemented. If it is not so good, we can extract the positive and profitable aspects of it, without discarding it outright, explaining why it is partly not feasible. We can reform it with the contributions of the rest of the team and our own experience to maintain recognition of the initiative without compromising the possible negative impact of the original proposal. The tact with which such initiatives are discussed and redirected can avoid the negative effects they may think exist if you do not support their proposals and do not take them into account.
All of the above must be included within the framework of communication, which must be clear and concise. One of the first steps to empower collaborators is to share information, and with this, we return again to what we talked about at the beginning: trust. Our team must know where we are going as a company, only in this way can their actions contribute to a successful end result. If a team is tasked with promoting an activity for the hotel but the leader did not consider mentioning that the audience it was targeting was international families, for example, the message is probably not ready to be communicated in the appropriate languages or the way to communicate it may not be the best. The team in charge of carrying out the promotion project would have detected these errors if they had had more information.
On the other hand, it is also crucial that communication also has a pyramidal character, that is, that middle managers share this information with their teams, transmitting the message in the same way that the leader does to them, and ensuring that their teams create and feel as though they are an integral part of the project.
Team management is a daily job, where the simplest details are very important. It is amazing how simple actions such as congratulating workers on their birthdays, having coffee with a department in the staff canteen after an event or collective outdoor activity, can surprise us and contribute both to the motivation of employees and to the team’s overall cohesion.
In closing, I want to share a comparison of team management with one of my passions, chess. We tend to think that in chess the king is the most important piece, the most valuable figure on the board, but those of us who play it know that the king is precisely the piece that has the fewest movements by itself, which is found in the rear guard coordinating the rest of the pieces and that during most of the game, does not play a leading role. In teams something similar happens, the leader or the king needs each of the pieces to play the game and without them, without the work that each piece does day by day, the result would be to be “checkmated” or the failure of the organization.
We must not forget what Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, but working together is success!“