Being a strong leader means more than being the boss.
Taking responsibility can make or break your business.
There are so many key teachings and principles in being a strong leader and running a successful business that it’s almost impossible to go over everything. In continuing the Creating and Elevated Environment Series, I am doing my best to give you the opportunity to learn what you can while you can. We’ve talked about fostering strong, trusting relationships with your teams and clients in the Express Your Love Openly article and how to build yourself as a brand-able, palatable person in the Put Energy Into Being More Likable article. This time, we’re taking a look at creating an environment where everyone feels supported and motivated to be better.
This particular topic is how you can create what I call a ‘culture of responsibility.’ It’s a pretty simple idea, but essentially, by taking the torch as a leader, you can light the way. You may find yourself with a few splinters, but in the end, everyone will feel much better about the journey you take to success.
If you’re wanting to learn more about how to create a space where clientele and staff feel comfortable and energized to be the best they could possibly be and where mistakes aren’t feared, but embraced, this is the best place for you to be.
Mistakes are inevitable. You make mistakes, I make mistakes, everyone everywhere makes mistakes, and it’s just a part of life. Living in fear of mistakes, whether they’ve been made or not, is one of the worst ways you can approach any part of life. Your personal life, your romantic life, or in your business practices, holding yourself back for fear of making a mistake, is holding you back from the growth and learning that you have to go through in order to reach your eventual success.
Once you overcome that fear and realize that it’s inevitable, you have a chance to embrace the possibility of making a mistake. Sure, it may be inconvenient or even downright awful at the time, but picking up the pieces at the end of the day and doing what it takes to make up for that mistake is where the real passion and growth comes in. Instead of being afraid of messing up, I encourage you to look forward to the opportunity to learn from those mistakes in the future and become a better version of yourself.
It’s also important that you realize the people around you will mess up at times. Not everything is going to go perfectly according to plan, and you need to be prepared for that. No matter who, what, when, where, why, or how, someone or something will probably go wrong, especially when it comes to working in the hospitality industry. There are so many large and small moving pieces at any given time, of course a gear is going to get jammed.
Understanding that mistakes are something that can almost always be recovered from is going to help you navigate the situations where staff and even clients make mistakes that much better. It will happen, and when that day comes, you’ll need to be prepared. Handling a situation like that the wrong way can cost you a valuable team member or client that can end up hurting you and your business in the long run. Or, it can hinder your relationships in your personal and romantic life and cost you a relationship that meant a lot to your life. That’s not a position you want to find yourself in, and I’m here to give you the tools to keep you far from this worst-case scenario.
You may not like this at first, but after taking some time to understand the why can help you to prevent unnecessary conflict in the long run. My advice is to learn how to take the blame and keep those around you from feeling obligated to take it. Let them save face and keep yourself humbled.
As a leader, you are a role model to the people around you, so blaming yourself for everything that could and will go wrong may seem a little contradictory, but in reality, it’s not. When you’re a leader, everyone around is going to look up to you in times of crisis. Say a new employee made a small mistake. Instead of letting it discourage and embarrass them, try to pin the blame on yourself. This can help to promote better communication all around in the future because now you and the people around will make a special effort to address what went wrong the first time and find alternatives to prevent it from happening again. By taking the blame as the leader, most people will know that they are truly responsible for a mistake, but they won’t feel so isolated and ostracized for messing up. This helps to build stronger relationships centered on trust and companionship, both values that are incredibly beneficial to have in any business.
A really good example of how to take blame as a leader is picturing a scenario involving a football team and their coach. If a team has just lost a big game, any good football coach is going to take the blame. Even if it was an obvious fault of the player, the coach will take the brunt of criticism on behalf of that player and the team. “It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have put him in that situation because of x, y, and z. I knew better and I should have gone with a different play, etc.”
There are a lot of benefits that aren’t all that obvious by taking the blame and letting the people around you save face, but one of the most obvious things is that no one is going to like or trust a boss that points the finger at someone else. Aside from that, this can help to foster an environment that helps you and the people around you succeed.
Creating a Culture Of Responsibility.
Acknowledging an error is crucial to finding a solution and devising better practices to avoid that error in the future. By taking accountability for a mistake that happened in relation to you and your business, even if you did not directly make that mistake, you are creating a culture of responsibility. Essentially, the people around you will begin to feel an obligation to do better the next time around, almost like an “I owe you” for shielding them from any embarrassment from making a mistake. I’m not saying you should go about it as a way to make people feel like they owe you favors, because manipulating your clients and staff that way will come back to bite very hard. What I mean is, you can help to create an environment where the people around you aren’t afraid of any long-lasting and serious consequences that could arise out of a harmless mistake, and they feel free to explore everything that has potential to improve the situation. Not only does this motivate people to work harder and to be better, but it also creates a space where team members are so willing to look out for one another that they will begin to practice the same things you do. Helping to prevent embarrassment and shame from a top-down chain is a great way to support strong, communicative, and reliable teams.
In the long run, you have to realize that you are responsible for everything that happens in your business as a leader. The responsibility falls on your shoulders, even if you’re not the one that made the mistake, so taking accountability for those mistakes isn’t an unreasonable expectation to have. Not only will it make you look and feel like a stronger and more responsible leader, but the people around you will repay you as well. Creating this culture of responsibility is an ideal atmosphere to have in any business, but especially those in realms like the hospitality industry where so many people depend on one another.
I hope you’ve gotten something out of this lesson and remember that there are so many principles and teachings when it comes to creating an inviting atmosphere and an elevated environment, so be sure to explore all of the resources in this series by visiting the main article with links to each lesson here.
I would love to answer any questions you may have.
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