Gain The Respect Of Your Team By Being Wrong

By feature writer Steve DiGioia

As a manager, supervisor or leader of a team or department, we are always right.  We always make the correct decisions, we always lead the team in the right direction, and we are the most qualified persons with all the answers.  How wrong can this thinking be?

Once we believe all this rhetoric we are doomed to fail.  Doomed to fail ourselves and our team.

Mid-level supervisors are especially susceptible to this way of thinking.  They may have just been promoted from a “line-level” employee for doing their job well but now they are thrust into a supervisory position where they must not only oversee the actions of others but chart a course for themselves as well.  But that doesn’t mean that they now have all the answers. 

One of the quickest ways to lose the respect of your team is to think you are always right.  Just because you were recently promoted does that mean that you have experienced all the various situations of your job?  Does that mean that you have steered through a confusing maze of indecision and assorted actions to find the correct solutions to the business needs ahead?  Have you done your job without making mistakes?  Of course not!

So when these mistakes happen, what do you do?  Do you cover up your shortcomings so no one would know?  Do you “play innocent” as if you have no idea how this happened?  Do you just shrug your shoulders and hope the issue goes away?  Or do you take this opportunity to gain the respect of your team?

A real leader realizes that he/she doesn’t have all the answers or constantly makes the only correct decision.  And when the mistake happens he accepts responsibility for the mistake, especially if another coworker had previously offered a different approach that was turned down.

A sample conversation could go like this:

Leader: “We did this wrong, it doesn’t work”

Follower: “I told you we should have done it the way I recommended”

Leader: “I made a mistake, you were right.  We should have done it your way”.  “I like your way of thinking and appreciate your willingness to offer assistance.  Next time, why don’t we both get together and come up with a plan of action, then work on it as a team?”  “I know I don’t have all the answers and would like your input moving forward”

Follower: “That’s great, I will be happy to help”.  “Thank you for realizing my contributions, it means a lot to me”.

Now, this may be an over-simplified version of a conversation but you should get my point.  Take a mistake on your part and turn it into a positive action that can unite your team under your leadership.

You will never be able to do this when you don’t accept that you are wrong.

About the Author

Steve DiGioia has been in the hotel & restaurant business, in one manner or another, for 25+ years.

From a summer internship as a 16 year old “prep-cook” in Chicago, to Brooklyn NY banquet waiter, catering sales manager & room service manager, to restaurant director, director of banquets & regional customer service trainer, he has seen some of the best and worst at their trade.

Known as “the ops guy” during his tenure at Hilton Hotels, Steve has redefined the operational and service standards for multiple food and beverage departments for some of the best names in the industry. Using a hands-on approach, he has developed multiple training programs and personally mentored countless employees that have successfully moved on to senior management positions.

Still active in the business Steve has put together a collection of those same straightforward no-nonsense tactics that he continues to use.  His book “Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift…Even If You’re a Bad Waiter” is an easy to follow training method that can be used across all industries. It will result in better customer retention, increased revenue and repeat business for your company PLUS bigger tips for your employees.

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