A critical conversation

A critical conversation

I was a guest in a hotel last week and overheard an employee being berated. Please keep in mind that while I speak of creating great work environments, I do not come from an HR perspective. I have racked up GM points for more than 15 years, and my frame of reference is always on how approaching systems holistically produces excellence and profitability — thrive versus survive.

Based on my experience, training depreciates over time, and performance decelerates rapidly based on how we speak to each other when driving for results. 

Most of you know what it is to open a new business and hotel. Everyone is extremely focused on what is expected of them. No matter how frantic we may be as we approach deadlines, most everyone is aligned with the objectives and excited for what is to come. Six months later, you typically see a pretty high turnover. What happens? Growing pains, not meeting budget expectations, tightening of staffing post opening — all of these. But something else begins to corrupt the health of the system.

Hospitality has its own language, and the intention of every interaction should be “upliftment.” Criticism is the opposite of that, and when we don’t take care in how we speak to each other, we trigger resentment followed by resignation and gossip, and “there goes the neighborhood.”  

Most break rooms I have been in have really earned their names, because many people are actually talking about their work environment saying “give me a break” in one form or another. It doesn’t have to be this way. Consider that constructive feedback that supports excellence maintains people’s self-esteem and allows for contribution to have organizations working at optimum. 

You can create a new future with how you speak. Imagine the break room buzzing with your team talking about projects, ways to improve service to each other, guests and the community. Criticism has a vibe. So does kindness. I know what makes me tick. 

And one more thing about criticism — release criticism of yourself. I am not saying not to be reflective, but the way we talk to ourselves is indicative of how we relate to and lead others. Criticism of yourself is not only a crime against nature, but it rolls downhill, and you know what tends to roll downhill. Operate from the peak of the mountain. Create grand gestures of coaching and appreciation, and request people to be part of the solution so they don’t feel like “grown bad children.” If they don’t perform, we have doors for that. But to encourage rather than discourage, to teach rather than blame, to close ranks rather than pull them, that is the stuff of healthy organizations.

To your health!