If you want your hostel to be sustainable in the long run, it can't depend entirely on you. Whether you’re expanding to multiple properties, or you simply need a vacation, you need someone else to take the reins when you can't be there. And that person needs to feel ready to lead the rest of your team.
Is your manager ready to lead your team and run your hostel?
Promoting someone from within your team is a great way to build loyalty, improve employee retention, help them advance their career, and help yourself by passing the torch to someone who already knows your operation. But it also comes with challenges. They may be great at dealing with guests, but they may not know how to manage other people. There may be awkward tension as they transition from being a peer to being a boss. They might try to tackle everything on their own instead of working as a team.
This article offers four suggestions for helping your new manager get into the groove:
Research Shows That Your First-Time Managers Aren't Ready to Lead. Now, What?
1) Encourage collaboration
They need to transition from knowing how to work in a group to how to create the right work environment.
- You need two-way communication to build trust with the team. Make a habit of giving and asking for feedback from each member of your team so you can model this behavior for people you would consider promoting.
- Sit in on brainstorming sessions. Ask questions. Give praise. Then sit with your potential manager and ask what they thought and how they felt. Making them recognize a system of collaborative management helps them to develop a similar style.
2) Don’t let new leaders lose sight of their employees
..the new leader needs to recognize team members' needs and advocate for their well-being and development.
- Employees will respect you and work harder for you if they feel that you have their best interests in mind.
- Try “mirror” management: taking cues from a specific employee and responding in a similar way. (ex. If someone is quiet, they will probably respond better to a softer tone) Try having your new manager write down their own natural characteristics (how they speak, think, observe, etc) and write down some leadership behaviors that could make use of those traits
3) Address the awkwardness
Often, new managers become the bosses of their former peers. And this can lead to awkward situations.
- Your new manager may not feel comfortable giving orders to their friends who were formerly peers. Talk to him about his concerns and how he could go about communicating what needs to be done in a way that makes it about accomplishing a collective goal rather than carrying out an order. Try bringing in team members to role-play and give their thoughts on having a friend who is now their superior.
- There may be resentment from other employees who applied for the position and didn’t get it. Before promoting anyone, be clear about how the choice will be made: what is being considered, how will it be evaluated. When you do make the choice, publicly announce how that candidate met all the requirements.
4) Don’t encourage your new manager’s “DIY” mentality
New managers want to prove they deserve the role...They focus on trying to do as much as possible by themselves -- the same as they did when they were individual contributors. But this do-it-yourself attitude can lead to poor leadership and burnout.
- The best managers will empower their teams, so be sure to encourage this behavior. They will be able to accomplish much more by dividing tasks and responsibilities among other people than they could by working really hard on their own.
- Try a practice scenario: give them a description of a project and a list of employees. Observe how they would divide up the tasks. Then give them feedback to make sure they’re learning how to use the strengths of others instead of their own time and energy.
Some other tips that I might add to this list would be:
1) Ask your new manager what he needs from you. This can be a difficult thing for anyone in a new position of responsibility to tell you, because he doesn’t want to risk looking like he isn’t fully capable and competent. It is also entirely likely that he won’t know what he needs from you at first. That’s okay, keep asking. When something does come up he will be far more likely to ask for the help he needs if he knows that it is expected of him and encouraged.
2) Share your sense of ownership. When situations arise that your manager isn’t clear on, ask her what course of action she would suggest and what led her to that conclusion. If she’s way off, you can discuss the decision making process and come to a conclusion together. If her suggestion is reasonable and backed by solid rationale, (even if it’s not what you might have done) then let her take ownership and run with it her way.
3) Establish regular meetings with your new manager, and make yourself available in between them as well. At these meetings address any questions, concerns, clarification, or feedback he might need from you. Be prepared with observations and plenty of praise so he can gauge how he’s doing and maintain his motivation. He should know that even when you give constructive feedback you are on his side and rooting for him (and his team) to succeed.
4) Get him involved in your hostel’s training program. The person who trains a new team member is the same person that new employee will look to for support and leadership. That’s perfect, because he will be their direct supervisor. If you are promoting from within, your new manager probably knows his team’s job even better than you do. Ask him to go through any training materials and procedures you have to ensure that they are up to date and as effective as possible. Ask your manager to suggest any changes that he thinks would help new team members to get integrated and up to speed quickly and to ensure that everyone’s training will prepare them to meet his particular expectations.
5) As the manager matures a little, make sure she keeps recognizing the human side of her team and doesn’t start looking at them as just employees. Ask her to tell you on a regular basis what’s going on in each of her team member’s lives. How are they feeling? What are they involved in outside of work? What kind of things are important to them right now? What are their challenges? What passions/dreams are they pursuing? If she has to report it to you, then she’ll find it out for herself and the team will know she cares about them as people. Encourage her to celebrate her team's personal victories as well as the hostel's successes.
What other advice would you give to help new managers become confident leading your team and running your hostel?