Blog: From Our Table To Yours

Restaurant Leadership – What Style Do You Use When Managing Restaurant Employees?

Posted in Blog, Featured Post, Staffing & Training

Download PDF

Managing restaurant employeesWho ever thought that opening a restaurant was really about managing people?  As restaurant owners we need to learn to manage all type of people:  customers, employees, suppliers, corporate partners, equity partners, accountants; the list does go on.  So how does managing restaurant employees play into being a good restaurant operator?  It starts with leadership.

As a manager it is important to understand the different types of leadership styles so that you learn, develop and grow your own.  If you have ever worked for a leader that you felt had no style, was cold, selfish, stand-offish, didn’t listen or perhaps was the opposite – smiley, warm to everyone, agreeable and filled with head nods – they may not have looked deep into the value of leadership styles.

Your team looks to you for more than just managing restaurant processes – they look to you to show them the way, model behaviors, provide advice, help them learn and grow, and in many cases they look to you for the decision (mainly because you have all the facts).  And most importantly, they look to you to develop the team.

Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory was created by Dr. Paul Hersey, a professor and author of “The Situational Leader” and Ken Blanchard, author of the best-selling “The One-Minute Manager.”  My interpretation of the theory is that instead of using just one style of leadership, successful leaders should change their leadership style based upon the people they are leading and the details of the task or situation.  If you think about the diversity of our work force today, I couldn’t agree more; you must understand your tendencies, your style and adapt it to the situation and the people to get successful results.

Hersey and Blanchard state there are four main leadership styles and four types of maturity levels or skill levels. Blending the two points provides the best guidance for managing your team and providing leadership:

Leadership Styles

Telling (S1) – Leaders tell their people exactly what to do, and how to do it.

Selling (S2) – Leaders still provide information and direction, but there’s more communication with followers. Leaders “sell” their message to get the team on board.

Participating (S3) – Leaders focus more on the relationship and less on direction. The leader works with the team, and shares decision-making responsibilities.

Delegating (S4) – Leaders pass most of the responsibility onto the follower or group. The leaders still monitor progress, but they’re less involved in decision

Maturity Levels

M1 – People at this level of maturity are at the bottom level of the scale. They lack the knowledge, skills, or confidence to work on their own, and they often need to be pushed to take the task on.

M2 – At this level, followers might be willing to work on the task, but they still don’t have the skills to do it successfully.

M3 – Here, followers are ready and willing to help with the task. They have more skills than the M2 group, but they’re still not confident in their abilities.

M4 – These followers are able to work on their own. They have high confidence and strong skills, and they’re committed to the task.

Which leadership style do you rely upon, which one will make you successful managing restaurant employees?   The answer is simple; not all teams are not created equal, so it all depends…on you, and your team.

Want more tips on how to hire, train, and retain employees for your restaurant?

Read “Staffing for Success” »