Comment: Recruit, induct, trust, develop

David Singleton talks about the perils of micromanagement in hospitality and F&B

David Singleton
David Singleton

I stay in hotels, and eat in restaurants all the time. I’ve opened more restaurants than I can remember so I’m one of those that gets irritable when we go out. Invariably I’m getting frustrated with an employee’s inability to think with the mind of the guest. It’s not always their fault, unless you’re wearing a suit and you can make a decision, but invariably it’s the senior guys or the owners who micromanage or simply don’t trust the talent they’ve hired to do the job. But that’s where it goes wrong.

At a recent mentoring session I was asked by my mentee how they could retain their good talent. It was something that was causing much organisational anxiety, and their line manager was not giving the leadership, direction and trust they needed to progress. This was compounded by micromanagement causing confusion and unrest. This particular high performer was affected by all of these points and none of them are new to anyone reading this. We had to understand the root causes of their turnover which are all challenges we recognise but keep coming up.

Great leaders hire others for their expertise and because they have a greater insight to their field, allow them space to accomplish their tasks and support them with what they need to do to get their job done. It could be knowledge, equipment, tech, but it isn’t micromanagement.    

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Think about your team dynamics and employ a likeminded, diverse, fun team with a high desire to succeed. Immerse new inductees into your business, brand and DNA. Inspire others with trust, but not before you’ve been meticulously clear of the task in hand, the results you expect and by when. Trust, but follow up. If you believe in your hire, educate, develop, teach, share, lead. It was for their expertise and personality that you hired them in the first place. Because of your team's expertise, they have deeper insights into the tasks at hand and they are more likely to recognise and take advantage of potential opportunities. Use your knowledge of the required tasks to put the right people in the right places. After that, manage your experts to communicate what you need, provide them with the support and resources to accomplish their tasks, and then trust them to carry out the task.

Some of the most enjoyable stays I have in hotels as I travel around the world are where leaders hire for personality and train for skill, where the receptionist is trusted to make a ‘cost driven’ decision, where the managers have access to mentorship and development and there is a diverse team made up of interesting cultures and personalities from around the world. I can pretty much guarantee that these hotels have a lower staff turnover, higher employee and guest satisfaction, and of course, profitability. 

About the author - David Singleton has worked with some of the best restaurant brands around the word as an operator, brand builder, franchisee, franchisor and marketer in the managed, franchise and entrepreneurial sectors. Based between the Middle East and London he now assists brands with their global ambitions, strategic thinking and brand development. Contact him on or follow him on Instagram and Twitter @singletoncity

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