When I took my first management role as a catering manager, I knew nothing about managing people. I’d worked in hospitality from the age of 13 (washing up, by hand in the kitchen of our local pub restaurant) but never needed to manage anyone.
Then, at the tender age of 21 here I was managing a team of women, all twice my age or more.
As it happened, I was either extremely lucky or didn’t do such a bad job after all! They were a lovely team, and we all got on very well. We had our moments, and there were times I did very silly (and occasionally totally unprofessional) things. But, between them and my district manager, they were quick to tell me when I got things wrong, and I was quick to learn.
I’m proud to say I had zero staff turnover in the two years in that role.
I was lucky, but it doesn’t always work out this way. All too often people who are brilliant at their role get rewarded by being promoted into a supervisory or management role for which they’ve had no training, little preparation and minimal support.
And then we wonder why they don’t perform.
And they wonder if they are cut out for the role after all.
Of course, it doesn’t just happen at junior management roles either, but it’s at this stage I believe people need most help. And generally they are more receptive – before they get stuck in their ways and got into too many bad habits.
After working in a variety of operational roles I moved into a training role, initially delivering training to customer facing teams; primarily health & safety and customer service, and progressively moving into more senior roles, including head of training for a leading UK catering company.
A period of leadership consultancy with senior leaders in some of the FTSE 100 companies gave me some insights into a cross section of industries including pharmaceuticals, finance and engineering. It also provided the opportunity to work with a huge range of professionals with different skills and styles which I have been able to tap into and learn from.
But whether hospitality & tourism, banking or engineering, the principles of managing people are the same. And the roles I have enjoyed the most have always been developing people’s management skills to prepare them for management roles.
I’ve now been training teams and coaching managers and business owners for over 30 years.
And I love it…
- I love to see that light bulb moment when the penny drops or a new idea forms and the enthusiasm that rubs off onto their team and customers .
- I love to see that moment when someone realises they really can do something they thought previously beyond them, so they’re confident to take on responsibility, and respond more quickly (taking the pressure off you) .
- And I love to see that transformation from just ‘doing my job’ to individuals recognising their strengths and value to the business and fully engaging with the job, so that the customer sees a happy, motivated and engaged team, and you get an employee who is fully engaged
I also get sad – as I’m sure you do – when I see talent going to waste. You know, all that potential you spotted at their interview not being demonstrated? Maybe because they haven’t been given the knowledge, skills, confidence or authority to show their true colours and capitalise on their strengths.
Something not everyone knows about me
During lockdown I decided to put my horticultural qualification to good use and set up a garden maintenance business. I’ve continued to do this part time ever since as I enjoy it so much.