o here I am, saying good bye to the team who has become my family over the past 4 years and what do I do? – I cry!
50 people sitting in front of me – listening to the presentation about the year’s results (which are exceptional) and hearing about the new brand that will take over and change the hotel away from the beautiful 60’s retro hotel that we have created over the past 4 years to a modern urban hipster hotel. There are mixed feelings in the audience and I feel how many of them are looking to me for directions, as they have for the past 4 years.
I asked them to take a deep breath in and then I asked them to take another deep breath in. Of course, you can’t and that was my point. You have to breath out, let go before you can take the new fresh breath of air in.
As I said that, I felt I got really emotional, these people meant so much to me and we had come so far together and now I stood here and asked them to let go of what we had built.
I asked them to accept the change and through a small really corny present (two pairs of really cool socks in our company color matching our cool company color BOTAS66) to each and every one I’m telling them to let go.
Someone told me when I expressed my sadness of the change “Who are you stop their learning” and truthfully who am I? I didn’t own the hotel, I just lead the team of the hotel from a poor operating smoke hole to a great operating 4star hotel with happy employees, low turnover and green numbers.
What fascinated me when I stood there, in front of these 50 people, I felt safe and comfortable to cry in their presence. I wanted them to hear, feel and see that I did not regret that I had made the hotel my personal interest and they all meant so much to me.
Sheryl Sandberg from FB said in an interview “its ok for women to cry at work, share emotions and be honest about their feminity”. I say it should be ok for everyone and anyone to cry to share emotions.
I am not referring to the temperamental outburst tears of Steve Jobs, I am talking about deep down caring for the people you work with and the team you manage feelings being expressed through crying.
Science tells us that biological women cries more often than men, which often is misrepresented as a sign of weakness.
I find myself fascinating as a woman to have become more open, sensitive and much stronger as a person since I started to share my emotions at work, whether it was through crying, the occasional raising of voice or expressing emotions through statements like “I wish I had a boxing bag in my office I am so angry about …” (which then of course was my Christmas present from the team the following Xmas).
I finished my talk by wishing them all the best of luck and to remember to be immensely proud of themselves and their achievements. I was taken back by the reactions and responses from the team who stood in a row to give me a hug or a handshake and to tell me how much I meant to them and how much I had helped them personally to become the persons they were today.
During this time of proud painful listening to each and every one (painful as it was so much raw emotions from so many different people) I felt stronger than ever, that being a leader is not about taking a business into green numbers, but to help the people become better people and to touch their souls & hearts through a vision bigger than ourselves. Helping people learn, strive and feel that they are important. Actually, simply put show them that you care.
Too often are people considered a commodity and a resource, just like the bed, cup, plate, chair and table we use to service our guests. Too often the people are let go in low season and rehired in high season, just like we add more equipment during a large event.
To reach sustainable happiness in your team, in your hotel you need to care beyond the numbers, beyond the faces and dig inside yourself to find the natural instinct we are all born with (but so easily lost during our upbringing) of caring and showing empathy with others.
If you feel that you are the kind of manager that I describe above, I would love to hear from you what you do for your team.
If you disagree with my above statements, let me know I would love to understand how you see your team and your fellow colleagues.
Below are some interesting links to other articles related to #leadership & #crying.
My passions are managing and improving the results of hotels through employee centered processes. My motto: "no need to say employees comes first - show it through the actions that you take".