Saturday nights, long weekends and public holidays. A time to unwind, relax and enjoy with loved ones. That is of course assuming you don’t work in hospitality. The profession that relaxes on Mondays and Tuesdays instead. Sure, there are perks, non-frantic shopping centres, having the beach to yourself or sleep-ins without lawnmowers roaring next door. Yet when late January arrives it is great leadership our team is desperate for.

As hospitality leaders we must pull out our pumps, inflate our teams tyres, who no-doubt by now are running on the rims. They have worked Christmas Day, New Years Eve and just about every day either side for the last two months and now wonder if it is all worth the effort.

Here are five ways to inflate your teams’ tyres, aid recovery from the busy season and increase energy levels.

1. Discuss the summer season of 2017 and celebrate the team wins

As leaders we so often jump into “what’s next” mode without considering and celebrating the year or season that has been. Whether it was amazing customer service, record crowds or consistency with presentation, take the time to highlight and celebrate the team wins. Invite the team to think of as many wins as possible during the period and write them on a whiteboard to allow team reflection on the great results achieved. Don’t rush the process and ensure you have some examples on hand should the team need encouragement to get started. Small wins are often easily overlooked so encourage any size win to be celebrated.

2. Recognition, make it personal, specific and meaningful, praise in public

If there is a particular employee that has gone above and beyond during the period make sure their efforts are recognised. This can often be the team leader who is quick to praise their team but avoids the spotlight themselves. Recognition may be a certificate, a gift that is personal to their taste or time in lieu. Whatever the reward, ensure the team can celebrate with the high achiever. It also highlights what behaviours are valued within your organisation.

3. Avoid over optimism, meet the team where they are and show empathy

A gift many leaders possess is the ability to see what is possible and a vision for the future. Rather than living in the current reality leaders provide direction, motivation and confidence. This however can have a detrimental impact if the team are feeling over-worked, stressed or low on energy. Meeting the team where they are and showing empathy will have a far greater reward than trying to motivate when their tyres are flat. Take the time to show the team you understand and appreciate their current reality, you value their efforts and you are in the trenches with them. Great leaders roll up their sleeves, do the jobs no-one wants to do and help the team through the busy period.

4. Transition with the team from busy season to normal trading

Once you feel the momentum shift from being over-worked during the busy season return to day-to-day trade, the timing is appropriate to highlight the positives of what lies ahead. Help the team feel the release in pressure, provide the team some leniency and have some fun. A team should not be expected to perform at optimum levels 100% of the time. Create new cocktails, have a staff cooking competition or host a barista championship all in the name of engagement. Ask staff for their suggestions, ideas and what they feel the customers will love. This transitional period will do more for building a constructive culture than any motivational speaker ever could.

5. Highlight great service, enjoy the moment and don’t put the pump away too soon

Just when you feel ready as a leader to push ahead, set new goals for the year to come and finalise your strategy for growth remember the front of house employees delivering surprise and delight service every day. Take time to find staff doing something great, walk the floor with your teams and spend an extra few weeks ensuring your staff and leaders are engaged and delivering great service to your valued customers. There is a huge risk in putting the pump away too soon.

Best of luck for the year ahead

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