Who’s in charge here? Can you tell by looking at someone? Do they look powerful? Tall, strong, with a take charge attitude? Some of our leaders are men, some are women. Some are tall, some are small, some vocal and loud, some quiet and diminutive. They are a diverse group of individuals, yet all share many of the same traits. They are eager to learn, they love people, they believe in making a difference, and not only the desire but the motivation to do what it takes to improve life for themselves, their families, and the people they work with.
It’s a misconception that management and leadership are the same thing. To think that because you are in charge, people should do what you say. Unless you are in the military I would venture to say that this is not how it works. It’s not that a manager can’t enforce policy, but what happens when he is not there? True leadership is the ability to influence people, even when you are not present. It is the process of creating buy-in to a picture of a better workplace, a better life, a better world. Can you manage and lead? Absolutely, it is necessary, especially in our business. Our leaders need to manage their labor costs, their food and supply expenses, the scheduling, even the flow of guests that come in to our restaurants. However, the even more important part of their job, the foundation of it all, is their leadership abilities. This begins with connecting, with listening, with serving and supporting the people you are leading, and understanding that it is all a process, not a destination.