By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
Resilience: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. This definition of resilience has been a theme throughout the industry for the past year — and will continue to be necessary for sales leaders moving forward. HSMAI’s Rising Sales Leader Council (RSLC) discussed how to build resilience and why the trait is so necessary in today’s workplace on a recent call. Here are key takeaways from their discussion:
GIVING EACH OTHER GRACE
It’s important to cut yourself as well as those you work with some slack right now, because everyone is going through a new, difficult situation, RSLC members said. And hopefully, if you communicate with them properly, guests will extend that same courtesy to you.
“Give yourself and your team grace,” one RSLC member said. “None of us has been through this before, and that’s the reality on our side, on the operations team’s side, and on the customers’ side. The more you communicate upfront about your situation, such as not having housekeeping, the more likely it is that someone is going to give you grace.”
Open communication with guests is vital, especially right now, as there are so many changes in regard to amenities and housekeeping. “You’re not making excuses, you’re telling them the reality of why it might’ve taken longer to check in,” one member said. “There are good ways to do it if you over-communicate and make sure that everybody on the front line knows how to be effective at doing that. Clarity of communication is one of the key things of a great leader.”
BEING A GOOD LEADER
Many sales leaders have been tested this past year, and while it has been hard, RSLC members said that they have learned a lot about leadership and support and how that relates to building resilience for all team members.
“I’ve had to learn to be more patient to my team,” one RSLC member said. “Sometimes it’s good to let them tell you what’s challenging them right now and work through it without adding more to their plate. I’ve learned that just because something isn’t affecting me doesn’t mean it’s not affecting them, and just because someone isn’t saying anything doesn’t mean they are fine. Taking a step back and listening to my teammates has really been very helpful.”
Sometimes, we all just need to let off steam. RSLC members agreed that having a person to serve as a confidant or a person to vent to — even if it’s your manager — can be extremely helpful in terms of managing stress and being resilient. “There are people who are going to complain regardless, but as a leader, if you know the person isn’t a perpetual complainer, sometimes you need to be the person for them to vent to,” one member said. “It’s okay not to have a solution for them. Sometimes we all just need to unload and move on. That can help build your team’s resilience and support system.”
Another member added: “Those of us in leadership positions have to do more of truly leading as opposed to managing. Some of us may not have the fortitude to do that right now because we can’t take it any longer, but I do think that if we can show real leadership instead of just managing things, we’ll be able to deal with this better and continue to build resiliency, even as we feel overwhelmed.”
DEALING WITH STAFFING SHORTAGES
One of the most difficult things that RSLC members said they are dealing with right now is the inability to hire more staff, on both the sales and operations sides. It’s not because there aren’t open positions, but rather because they can’t find anyone who wants the job. This can be demoralizing and frustrating, but RSLC members said that it’s important to remember that this is only temporary.
“I’ve been sitting in interviews constantly all day long, working at night to catch up,” one RSLC member said. “Yesterday we made three offers and all three of them turned it down. One turned it down because of the salary, but the other two gave no real reason, after sitting through multiple interviews. It’s exhausting going through this process.”
The staffing shortage has led to many people doing multiple jobs, but several members said that they think this will go back to normal within the next year. “I’m telling applicants that the next six months of wearing multiple hats is just the recovery period,” one member said. “Our goal in 2022 is to have everybody focused on their channels again. It’s just what you have to do now to push you through and bring coworkers back.”
Another member added: “It’s happening everywhere. We’re hearing the same thing from other industries, and even through we really need to hire people now, it’s okay to be patient. We need to find the right ones who are going to stay and thrive and grow. It’s hard, but it’s a great time to be resilient and use your emotional intelligence and remember that everyone’s going through the same thing.”