I am often asked by students who are pursing degrees in the hospitality industry about how fast they can become managers in a hotel. This question highlights one of the main challenges that we are still currently facing within the hospitality industry– a generation that easily leaps from job to job, in search of quick results and promotions.
When looking back at a 2019 Robert Walters study which surveyed over 2,000 respondents, it was found that millennials were the most “impatient generation” in the workplace. The study found that over 90% of them wanted to progress rapidly in their career. So, when millennials and the younger generation ask us, industry experts, how long it will take them to become a manager or become successful in their career, I have three main thoughts to share:
- There is no success formula Before becoming a successful manager, you need to understand yourself and your purpose within the hospitality industry. Being able to identify why and how you want to impact peoples’ lives, because, after all, you are entering an industry that adopts a people-centric approach, where people are at the heart of all operations.
- Understanding everyone around you A managerial role is merely a title, and the most important part is the change that the person behind this title brings. It all starts with understanding all the cultures and the people that you are surrounded by. To get to a managerial level, you need to build the right emotional intelligence and empathy towards the people that your hotel will ultimately serve. This takes time, practice, and patience.
- Gain experience through hard work The knowledge and theory that is learnt at university needs to be complimented by the on-ground experiences. It is not enough to learn from textbooks, as the main lessons lie within the daily interactions you have with people from different backgrounds.
The two main skills that you can only learn through experience, which does take time, are those of connecting with people and building patience. Usually, you are advised to enrol in an internship program or a traineeship during summer, which is extremely important, but it requires you to be heavily invested. This can only happen during summer holidays, but what about throughout the year? I believe that we can learn how to improve our human connection and build patience through jobs that are completely unrelated to the hospitality industry.
For example, you can apply for part-time promoter opportunities, and this will teach you how to react and respond to different types of people based on their background and their current mood. In the hospitality industry, you meet different kinds of people, and not everyone is in the best mood all the time, so this opportunity teaches you how to better interact with individuals through practice.
Secondly, you could apply for a part-time call centre job. The multiple phone calls during the day can help you understand what it takes to become persuasive, patient, and calm. In the end, no matter how bad the previous call was, you need to reset, and pull on a smile and happy tone for the next person you are about to call.
These two jobs are merely two ways through which you can built habits that last, and gain a better understanding of how to converse with people with humility, understanding, and patience.