Les Roches International School of Hotel Management Switzerland alumna leadership

“That’s not in my yard…” – Why taking ownership matters!

19 May 2015 | by Lisa


Alumna Lisa Westrich, from the Rosewood London, writes about the importance of taking ownership and initiative at work and gives her 4 top tips on how to encourage this attitude among your associates.

At some point or another, we have all faced challenges where we’ve waited for someone else to act, take initiative, assume the blame or take charge. But how often has anyone actually come to help us?

I have worked in several countries around the world in luxury hospitality environments, where people of different cultures and beliefs come together in one team. I have noticed that this passive approach to resolving a problem is often a common flaw in the way we work, and one that can be easily rectified.

So what is the solution? It’s simple: taking responsibility and owning a situation. I find nothing more satisfying than following up with a client on a problem that I said I’d handle, receiving their gratitude when I’ve solved the problem, and knowing that I have upheld the reputation of the company I work for.

I had an experience once where I was working at the Front Desk, and met an elderly couple who were about to depart. I asked them about their stay – they were honest and explained that their breakfast throughout their visit had been mediocre, and that they did not wish to eat at the restaurant on the day of their departure.

Now, at this point, I could have simply noted their answer and let them leave with their negative impression of my company – which is an example of what commonly happens when people in our industry receive complaints.

But I didn’t. I felt that it was my duty to promote my work place and recover their final impression of our company. I showed interest in their opinion and found out the root of the problem.  To cut a long story short, opportunities for increasing revenue were missed and the couple had left feeling undervalued and with an impression that the associates had a lack of interest in their job.

To quickly and efficiently resolve thiLes Roches International School of Hotel Management Switzerland alumna leaderships situation, I personally escorted the couple to the dining outlet where I introduced them to the restaurant manager who was tasked to look after them while I arranged their departure transportation.

I had listened to the couple’s criticism, but I had also shown interest in what they enjoyed. They had mentioned that they adored our homemade lemon curd, so I took the initiative of giving them a nicely wrapped jar of the lemon curd on their departure, as surprise gift from the hotel.

It is important to have the best interests of the company and the guests in mind when dealing with challenging situations. Going the extra mile and taking on more projects, is a key way to differentiate you from other colleagues, and forces you to learn new things in today’s competitive environment. In addition, the more tasks you take on, the more likely it is that you can carve a niche within the company.

And here are 4 tips to encourage this attitude in your associates.  If you are a manager:

•    Encourage each team member to take control by giving them enough space to handle situations instead of just giving orders
•    Have faith in your team and lead the way by being a role model
•    Listen to the ideas of your team for better outcomes
•    Communicate with your staff on how all small puzzle pieces make the big picture

It does not leave a good impression when you begrudgingly take on tasks because you have to.

When associates take ownership and an active, enthusiastic commitment towards their work, they treat the business – and its money – as if it were their own.

Therefore, happier team players equal a more productive work environment and a more successful business.

Encourage your associates to go the extra mile through allowing them to use their initiative to recover the guest experience when receiving negative feedback – the lemon curd moment of truth!




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