Bill Marvin
The Restaurant Doctor™

Some of the most powerful management concepts are also the most simple. Here is a "blinding flash of the obvious" for your consideration:

The odds are that you are living with behavior today that results directly from some long-forgotten incident involving a member of your staff who left your employ years ago. You see, every time you chew out one of your crew, you add a new "rule" to your company's unwritten code of conduct.

Nobody likes to be yelled at, so when it happens, you create a very uncomfortable situation. Since you can count on people to avoid pain, the word will travel fast. Not only will there be an impact on all your current staff, but as new people are hired, your veteran workers will tell them, "Oh yes, and make sure you never . . ." and they won't. But what was the story behind the flare-up that started this paranoia? It could have been a simple misunderstanding, it may have been a harmless difference of opinion or an isolated incident. Perhaps you were just under stress and overreacted. In the end, the exact circumstances really don't matter. You blew your top about something and the "rule" resulting from that upset will continue to be passed along.

This new "rule" will never show up in your operations manual and it is unlikely that any of your staff will ever discuss it with you. (After all, you are the one who so clearly expressed your disapproval, so it is obvious how you feel about it!) Still, the fallout from the incident will influence everyone's behavior for years. So be careful what you say and how you say it. Be alert for rumors and potential misunderstandings. If you even suspect that something is being taken out of context, address it immediately. If you make a mess, clean it up. If you make a mistake, do what you would want your staff to do if one of them made a mistake - apologize, learn from it and move on.

Better yet, conduct yourself in such a way that your actions cannot be misinterpreted. Model the behavior you want to see from your staff. Don't lose your temper. Listen. Watch your tone of voice. Reward progress instead of punishing lapses. Conduct your counseling sessions in private and never when you are angry. As much as possible, create standards of performance rather than rules. Expect the best and don't jump to conclusions. It is all a human equation, after all.

for more information contact:
Bill Marvin, The Restaurant Doctor™
(585) 606-0000

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