Why Emotional Intelligence is the First Step to Becoming A Great Hospitality Leader

April 12, 2019

To be a good leader you need to earn admiration and respect from those around you, it has nothing to do with your job title. The thing is that you don’t decide if you’re a leader – the people around you do.

So how do you achieve this? Well, it all depends on relationships, how you form them and the connections that you have with those around you.

It’s not about having the right characteristics, it’s about how you manage relationships. And to manage relationships effectively, you need to have a good understanding of yourself and those around you.

1.- Knowing Your Strengths & Weaknesses

To be a good leader you need to understand who you are and what your values are. Everyone has different behavioral patterns and internal motivators and you need to accommodate this.

Experiences with a bad manager normally boil down to them having just one type of management style. Situations constantly change and the same should go for the way you manage.

That’s why a successful leader knows how to be flexible and adapt to the needs of different people and understand when one type of management is effective and when it’s time to switch it up.

2.- Emotional Intelligence

The term which threads all this together is emotional intelligence and it refers to the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively. Here are its five key elements, according to psychologist Daniel Goleman:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

Of the five elements, we have already touched on self-awareness and the last two points also deserve some extra attention when we look at leadership in hospitality.

Put differently, empathy is social awareness. It’s an understanding for others and organizational dynamics and demonstrates an awareness about what is going on around you, in a respectable and mannered way.

The final element, albeit a self-explanatory one, is about being a team player. This goes back to how you manage relationships and is arguably the most important of the five elements. This person possesses good communication, adaptability, and an ability to handle disputes.

Have you thought about how you fare on each of these elements? And more importantly, how would others say you fare on this?

3.- Leadership in Hospitality

Now up to this point, there hasn’t been much mention of the hospitality industry and that’s because leadership qualities in the hospitality industry are like those in other successful businesses.

Yet the environment of a hotel only amplifies the need for emotional intelligence. Hotels are big places and as a result there are many things that you won’t be able to see, there’s no escaping it.

Being a great leader in hospitality requires you to recognize that you cannot be an expert in everything. There’s simply too much going on.

Staff such as housekeeping and front desk are the eyes and ears of the hotel. They have the potential to drive your hotel forward and as a leader it is your responsibility to interpret this information and do what you deem is right.