Julie Dickson, the managing director of Black Sombrero in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia recently wrote me. That’s right . . . she operates a “Taqueria and Tequilaria” in a small town in Australia. She had read something I wrote for RestaurantOwner.com and found my blog.
“I swore that after the first time, I wouldn’t be a cog in the machinery,” she said. “But instead I would take the step up to ‘drive the bus.’ Well, my nature, and the workload prevailed, and I tried to do both. It’s now time, with the new year upon us, for me to get better at managing my team. Thus, my Google search.”
So basically the tequila and taco purveyor in New South Wales is doing something that all of us are doing every day. Julie, a second-time serial entrepreneur is seven months in to her latest venture.
Management is not about doing things. A good example is the simple act of answering questions. Inexperienced managers have a bad habit of answering questions immediately when asked. This, of course, is not so wise. When we answer questions, we neglect the opportunity to give the employee the chance to think for themselves. Without teaching people or giving them the guidance to work it through, they will be forever frozen in time like a certain Disney princess, instead of growing and reaching their potential.
I just left a client’s managers’ meeting where we appointed a team of three kitchen supervisors to make a recommendation on how to solve a specific issue. After 15 minutes with the entire management team, we realized we had better things to do with that precious time together than solve this department-related issue. As soon as we got up from the table, however, one of the owners reflexively came up with a solution, thereby voiding the opportunity for that team of three to collaborate.
Unfortunately, they acted directly against their self-interest. I invited them to make 2015 the year of letting employees come up with suggested solutions to their own problems:
“When they present their solutions, you can either help them improve their critical-thinking skills if you disagree, or celebrate their genius if you agree.”
Matthew’s mantra, “what’s your recommendation?” helps all the Julie Dicksons around the world and it will help you.