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Is NOW the time for Leaders to be more kind?

Is NOW the time for Leaders to be more kind?

Some people may find the headline a little controversial, can a leader be successful, if they are kind; to many it may be a contradiction in terms. It is often reported that to be successful in leading a team in the world of business and the hospitality industry, you must be firm and perhaps ruthless in the decision making. Occasionally dishing out the “hairdryer treatment.” I would have to argue the case that a compassionate and caring leader will achieve more that the autocratic one issuing orders like a sergeant major. Having emotional intelligence is now regarded as a huge asset in management and leadership. Being able to read a member of staff is so important in allowing managers to support them and get the best out of them.

When Gareth Southgate was appointed as the manager of the English national team, comments were made that he was too nice to lead. Could he get the best out of the group of successful strong-minded players? Did he have the strength to get through tough times and deal with really difficult situations? The argument was that a ‘nice approach’ was not the best for a leader in the world of international football. It is important to recognise that leaders and managers come in all shapes and sizes, with different approaches and styles to motivate their teams. Research has shown that self-aware leaders who understand themselves and can relate to others, are generally successful. The evidence has clearly shown that Gareth has done a successful job, for being a nice guy!

  1. How do I show my team I truly care about them – as people?What personal calls do I want to make to my staff? (consider asking “what support do you need now?”)
  2. How do I take care of myself, and maintain my objectivity, balance, and optimism? Now’s the time to double-down on (vs abandon) the physical/emotional/spiritual practices (e.g. the right food, correct amount of sleep, meditation, exercise, water intake etc) that you know serve and sustain you.
  3. How do I want to be remembered in six months for my reaction to and leadership through this situation?What will I want to be able to congratulate myself and my team on?

The industry is facing perhaps a bigger crisis over the next few months, than we did during the COVID pandemic, when businesses were forced to close by the government. The future holds a real economic crisis, which will sadly bring about closures and redundancies of staff in some businesses within the sector. A very concerning time ahead for both staff and leaders.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that wellbeing is key to organizational resilience and adaptability, increasing the impetus to focus on it. However, many leaders are at a loss as to where to start, especially when having to navigate through to a ‘new normal’, assessing what that looks like for their unique organization.

Workplace wellbeing has now, surely got to be top of all Leaders agendas! In hospitality & tourism, we are the caring sector, providing a warm welcome and excellent customer service to our guests, however now more than ever before we need to look after the staff within the organisation.

Workplace wellbeing refers to the intersection between individual wellbeing and the organisation and is defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as ‘related to all aspects of working life, from the quality and safety of the physical environment, to how workers feel about their work, their working environment, the climate at work and work organization’.

Workplace wellbeing plays a key role in attracting and retaining talent. This is especially true for Millennials and Gen Z for whom it is now an expectation not a bonus. These generations also need to see authenticity and commitment from leaders and will be quick to identify and criticize poor practices.

Employees with high levels of wellbeing are more engaged, innovative, creative and productive as well as being less likely to leave.

While happy and loyal customers and employees are of course a good thing, the good news is that the business advantages delivered by a positive staff wellness, also result in higher levels of profitability.

Organizations with a good employer reputation who invest in their employees can attract and retain more talented and innovative employees who do a better job of promoting the business products and service.

Reference: – WellWiseWhitepaper2 – an organization’s brand, products and services to stand out.


Gordon McIntyre


Hospitality Health

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