Every decision and behavior contribute to your own personal brand. Sure, it’s easy to work on your tone & delivery when you are speaking in front of your team. But what about everything besides your words? Are your actions helping or hurting your leadership?


This one seems like it should be so easy. It’s not that we don’t know what to do, we often don’t hold ourselves accountable to actively listen. Your number 1 job as a leader is to make sure others are heard. You gather all information and then lead out courageously with your decision. When you don’t get the right input, you make the wrong decision. Entrust. Listen. Get Better.

Are we afraid they might have the answer? Or that their idea will show our mistakes? WTF is going on when those are the questions? Leadership’s job is to know that you don’t know all the answers. The people in your front lines know your business better than you. They are the key and should be actively tapped for real time feedback.

Make it your goal to ask more and more questions the bigger roles you get. As a server, all I wanted was to not have to run down 87 stairs for a side of ranch. We finally talked management into getting a stand-up cooler for the rooftop so we could make up ramekins of ranch, ketchup…I shit you not, it took 2 Summers before management understood we were going down in flames running the stairwell for sides of ranch.


If you expect your staff to keep the restaurant organized and clean, you better show them the way.   Start with your office and model the attention to detail you want. When staff come into the manager’s office, it should communicate a sense of calm and control. Nobody wants to see personnel records lying around or staff requests crumpled up in a pile.  Keep your shit clean. Make sure to empty the trash often and do a quick deep clean at least once a month.


Can they tell you are the leader or do you look like some random guy watching the game and hitting on girls at the bar? Are you so buried on expo that guests never see you? Or are you on the floor looking like the most worried one in the room?

The way you are communicating non verbally can make your break your leadership credibility. This can come so natural to some leaders that they have never even thought about and to others it is their Achilles heel.


Staff need to know that it is our stance that we are incredibly grateful for every guest that walks in the door. Grateful to the point that we don’t chastise our guests behind their backs for all the stupid things they do (and yup, there are some doozies out there) They are the reason we have shoes on our feet and a roof over our head.

Do I not laugh at guests? C’mon, let’s be real. There is a time, place, and audience for that. Focus on doing the job to the fullest when it’s in front of you and then after service, in the right company, all is free game. I have been in many arguments with managers about this topic. They say, “Maite, they are crazy, and bitching about them is the only way to get through the bullshit.”

The problem I have with that is, as a manager you might be letting off a little steam but in the grand picture you appreciate the guest. You understand they are the lifeline. The staff might take that opening and become emboldened to have distain to the very people who pay their bills. Over half of the people I have met working in hospitality don’t like what they do and it’s ridiculous. Pick your profession, oh wait you did? Gratitude in your decisions. That is where happiness is. That is where you will find fulfillment.


Simply put, be on the floor when any amount of real business is happening.  It is not necessary to circle the dining room, incessantly asking “Do you need anything?” That can be detrimental to service. I remember being so in the weeds that when a manager would ask me what I needed, I didn’t have the time to list off how they could help.

LEADERS open your eyes… Can any tables be pre bussed? Is there any food in the window that can come out to keep the servers on the floor? Walk the floor and do your circle! We tell the staff, check your section, check the kitchen, check the host stand, and back to your section, then back round again. As managers, we need to take our own advice. Look around and do smart things that help overall operations. When you are in the middle of service you should not be picking and choosing which tasks you like to do. You need to do the tasks that are the highest priority. You never graduate from a task because of your title.

Always say goodbye to everyone before you walk out the door. You are their leader. It is unacceptable to sneak out the back because you don’t want to get caught having to do something or you don’t want them to know what time you left. Have some integrity and make it your daily routine to do your goodbye rounds as you are finishing up your shift. “I’m leaving for the night do you need anything?” It will go a long way.

Focus on your actions everyday for the next month and watch your influence start to grow!

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