Communication at work and teamwork
The goal of restaurants and foodservice establishments is to provide customers with quality meals and excellent service without exceeding the cost of food and labor so that the establishment can make a profit. This goal can only be achieved through the cooperation and support of all employees. Just as a football franchise is only successful when players and employees form a cohesive team, a restaurant is only successful when the employees form a team.
Teams invariably outperform individuals when they work effectively. When groups come together to solve a problem, they come up with more creative and flexible solutions than individuals. In a restaurant, excellent food and service are always a team effort. If the food is not well prepared or the service is poor, the customer may not enjoy the dining experience. All team members contribute to making the customer experience a memorable one.
Cooks often think only of the kitchen equipment. Kitchen staff may view themselves as a team (“we”) allied with front desk staff (“they”). Kitchen staff on other shifts, management and other components of the operation may also be considered "them". This is not productive in a well-functioning restaurant. Employees may believe that "we" could do a better job if "they" were more understanding, worked harder, or knew what it's really like. Of course, the same thought prevails in the other groups, only in reverse.
The flaw with this thinking is that it pits one group against another. It contributes to poor customer service. Jealousy and petty conflicts can lead to different plans to get the best out of the other group. This is an immature way of looking at your workplace and unfortunately the customer will suffer as a result. Being part of a team means respecting each other's specific roles and responsibilities. When the whole group sees itself with common goals and each team member understands their contribution to the overall team performance, the best results are achieved.
Effectively working groups have the following characteristics:
- The group members share a common purpose or purpose that each member is willing to work towards. Members feel that they played a role in setting these goals and the methods used to achieve them. As a task is completed or the demands of the situation change, the group can change focus or direction to achieve the new goals.
- The group is not only concerned with the task, but also with its own processes and operations. The group regularly evaluates their performance.
- Group members use each other as a resource. The group readily accepts the influence and leadership of members whose resources are relevant to the immediate task. Roles are balanced and shared to ensure tasks get done and improve group cohesion and morale.
- Communication is clear and direct. Group members continually try to listen and explain what is being said, and show interest in what others are saying and feeling. Disagreements are encouraged and freely expressed.
- The group focuses on problem solving rather than directing its energies toward competition or interpersonal issues. The group is willing to address and focus on the conflict until it is resolved or managed in a way that does not affect the effectiveness of the group and its members. Confrontation is accepted as a challenge to question one's behavior or ideas. It will not be viewed as an indifferent personal attack.
- Mistakes are seen as a source of learning rather than a reason for punishment. This encourages creativity and risk-taking.
- The group has clear expectations and standards for the behavior of group members.
- The basis of all these elements is the development of a climate of trust. In order to be able to trust one another, the individuals in a group must understand and know one another.
phases of group development.
Groups go through a number of predictable developmental stages. In 1965, Bruce Tuckman, researching group dynamics, identified the four stages as formation (getting to know one another); storm (initial confrontation when group members realize their differences); Regulations (meet to work for the good of the team); and performance (working well together with a process for handling disagreements and re-evaluating to look for opportunities for improvement). (Tuckman, 1965)
- Formation:When a group is first formed, the individuals wait and see what happens. They are unsure of their role and worried about how they will fit in. They want to belong to the group, to feel accepted and to know what the task is. If you think about it for a moment, you'll probably remember that feeling from your first day at work. The supervisor or leader can help at this stage by providing a comfortable and structured environment. Make sure each person is introduced and there is an opportunity to get to know each other. Make clear goals and expectations.
- Attack:During the confrontation phase, individuals in a group begin to fight for their place in the group. You can challenge group leadership or group boundaries. They may also express dissatisfaction or impatience with the task or the group process for the first time. At first, the leader may wonder why the group that seemed to be doing well now seems to be in trouble. This phase is healthy because group members feel comfortable and safe enough to air conflicts that were previously kept hidden. The manager must allow time to address issues as they arise and resist the temptation to "dig in" on the conflict. Healthy dissent leads to better problem solving and better collaboration. If you prevent conflicts from being expressed, they can fester beneath the surface and cause bigger problems later.
- Norman:In the working phase, the groups have developed methods for coping with the task and the process and can work together effectively. People become more tolerant of group differences and encourage self-expression. The group can accept and build on each other's strengths and share tasks in the most productive way.
- Operation:During maturity, the group continues to work together to solve problems and achieve goals. The group can become stagnant and less effective if new challenges and opportunities don't arise. Perhaps you have worked in a restaurant where the entire team has been working together for a few years. The group works well together, but unless there are new challenges like a new menu or expansion, things can get boring. When group members become bored and unchallenged, their performance can decline and conflicts between members can begin to dominate the group's work.
During re-evaluation, members review their performance and work processes. They start giving honest feedback, which isn't always positive, and start sharing ideas that can lead to conflict. As a result of this review, the group can further increase its clout.
Working groups are constantly being formed and reformed as new employees join and others leave. New team members have the same needs as new groups. Since the team has a different composition, the entire group can fall back to an earlier level of development. This is especially true if the new team member is in a position of authority over the other members. A good leader is always looking for signs that the group needs more structure or a new challenge.
This sense of teamwork isn't something that just happens; it is created through good communication, leadership, caring for individuals as people and an understanding of the group process.
roles of group members
Members of a working group fall into two categories. Initiators are the people who speak first and generate ideas. They contribute their knowledge of relevant information and experiences and make statements. Responders listen and respond to suggestions they hear. They evaluate information, criticize suggestions and ask questions. They play an important role in developing the ideas of the initiators.
As the group progresses, the members switch roles. Both roles are important for the functioning of the group. Groups need a balance between these roles. If there is only one brainstorm, the result will be a quarrelsome and unruly group too divided to make a decision. If there is too much emphasis on submitting and evaluating ideas, the group may not come up with new and innovative ideas to try. Keeping the balance is the task of the group leader.
Obstacles to group performance
In an effective group, the purpose of the group takes precedence over the needs of the individual. When individuals put their needs ahead of the group, they act as a barrier to performance. These people can be classified as:
- Aggressors seeking or exercising power
- Defeatists, finding the problem insurmountable, sometimes demoralize the group and sabotage the group process.
- Stars who always need to be in the spotlight, even if they don't contribute.
- Narrators who keep slipping into trivia and irrelevant conversations
- Clowns who just want attention and a laugh
- Dominators who want to direct things more than solve the problem.
- Ax grinders all related to your favorite hobby
Perhaps you can think of one or two people you've worked with who fit into these categories.
Good communication always leads to better cooperation. Honest and confident communication tells the listener what they need. They don't expect the listener to read between the lines. It may also express feelings about the situation. When problems arise, honest communication enables a mature solution.
When you deal with problems aggressively, the situation may seem settled in your favor at first, but the other person is likely to harbor hard feelings and resentments. When you deal with problems by giving in to others when you think your position has some validity, or by complaining to others but not to the people involved, you can also start to feel resentment. Over time, resentment and resentment can continue to build from a series of small incidents.
Leadership is important in a team. A good manager is a leader who can bring the group together and create an environment in which the team can work together effectively. A leader acts as:
- Management representative
- model to follow
- problem solver
- daily manager
A group leader does not always have to perform all of these functions. Some of the most effective leaders lead from behind. They lead the group discreetly, sharing the responsibilities and rewards of leadership.
That doesn't mean they don't do anything. They work hard to "catch the people who get it right" and recognize their efforts. You value the contributions of others and share in decision-making. They also recognize when it is important to step in and take responsibility.
A successful leader has the ability to influence employees by making suggestions and leading discussions. Every manager has legitimate power, namely the authority that comes with being a boss. In addition to this authority, effective leaders have a second type of power: the power to influence or persuade people. This authority is conditional on the employee accepting the manager as a person of sound judgment and worthy of respect.
Influence is a very powerful form of power (Figure 12). Employees may obey the orders of an authority, but they will go beyond the duty of a person of influence. Of course, a manager needs authority and influence. If the manager does not have decision-making authority, he cannot create a climate in which to work. In turn, he or she will not enjoy the respect and acceptance that influence generates.
Successful leaders combine a focus on the task (getting the job done) with a commitment to helping employees achieve their personal goals. When a supervisor is only focused on getting things done, they come across as indifferent and unsupportive. Employees may feel that they are not valued for their unique skills and interests.
On the other hand, if the supervisor focuses solely on making employees feel good and promoting a pleasant work environment, the tasks for which the group is responsible may not be fulfilled. The entrepreneur does not receive the required work performance. Profits and customer service will suffer. Although employees can be expected to be happy, they will not experience a sense of accomplishment in their jobs. Morale will suffer.
The leadership style used by supervisors can be classified into four types:
Authoritarian leaders plan, organize, coordinate, control, and lead in a very authoritarian way. They make the decisions and expect their subordinates to obey. Most military units function under this type of leadership. This does not mean that the leader is not concerned about the welfare of the employees. This type of leader can be a caring person but may feel best placed to judge what is best for the employees they serve. He or she can be like the wise and caring father in a traditional family.
Passive managers do not want to face conflicts. They avoid situations that require them to make decisions or interact with others. They care little about people or production. This leadership style is rarely appropriate in situations found in the hospitality industry.
A bureaucratic leader expects his employees to put in an honest day for an honest wage. He or she expects everyone to play by the rules. The results may be predictable, but this type of leadership does not encourage creativity or initiative.
Participatory leaders believe that participation in decision-making is key to achieving organizational goals. In this day and age, when most people have a strong tendency towards individualism, this style can complement the personality and needs of employees well.
However, this does not mean that it is appropriate in all situations. For example, an authoritative style will likely be more effective in an emergency. If there is a fire in the restaurant and customers and guests have to be evacuated, someone has to get to it quickly. There is no time to consult with employees and reach a consensus on which approach to take.
The style you choose should reflect the needs of a situation while considering your personality and the needs of your employees. Once you've decided on a style (or it's imposed on you from above), don't try to disguise it. For example, authoritarian leaders sometimes want to appear more participatory. They pretend to consult with others when in reality a decision has already been made. This only annoys and confuses his subordinates.
Here are some tips on how to be an effective leader:
- Make your expectations of employees clear. Expect excellent performance and customer service. Let employees know you trust them.
- Share the tasks and praise a job well done. Commend employees for a job well done (Figure 13).
- Provide honest feedback to help employees improve their performance. See mistakes as an opportunity to grow and develop.
- Earn respect by modeling appropriate behavior and exercising self-discipline.
- Be positive and encouraging about the challenges the group is facing. Introduce incentives to help your group achieve desired levels of productivity. Respond to your employees' efforts by showing enthusiasm.
- Expand your knowledge and skills so you can answer employee questions and provide detailed information on your company's specific processes and techniques.
- When challenges arise, pitch in and help where needed. Encourage others to do the same.
- Stand up for your employees when they need support. Listen to your employee's side before making a decision.
- Don't be a gossip or a traitor. Never say or repeat anything you are not willing to admit.
- Be consistent, firm and fair.
Some bosses believe that if you want to get a job done, do it yourself. These people often work so hard they burn out. You can work long, hard hours and be admired by others, but something inevitably goes wrong. Maybe the manager gets sick because of overwork. Since junior staff never had the opportunity to learn the work of the individual, the performance of the entire team suffers. Young professionals may feel unappreciated and unchallenged because they have not been given the opportunity to learn new skills.
The task schedule gives you time to complete your tasks. Recognizes the abilities of others and offers them opportunities to develop their skills and talents. Divide the work to be done among team members to increase effectiveness and efficiency (Figure 14).
When delegating a task to a junior employee, simply asking them to complete the task is not enough. You must ensure that:
- Explain why the task is necessary and how it relates to the company's goals.
- explain what to do
- set performance standards
- Provide a timeline for completing the task.
- Give the person the necessary resources, authority, and responsibility to perform the task
- Provide adequate training
- Provide support and guidance in the early days.
- Provide feedback on completing the task.
For example, you plan menu changes. You must test and taste the recipes for the new items. You decide that one of the trainees you're supervising could cover some of the breakfast items you're considering adding to the menu. You can do the following:
"Kuldip, I'd like your help testing and calculating a new fruit waffle recipe (what) that we're considering adding to our breakfast menu (why).
“You must prepare the recipe exactly as shown here. You calculate the cost of groceries and estimate a menu price based on 35% of the cost of groceries. You will prepare four servings which we will serve to some housekeeping staff to see their reactions. I want you to listen carefully to your feedback and take notes on taste, presentation and cost. I'd also appreciate your suggestions on how to deal with these comments (what, performance standards).
"Do you have any questions about what you're going to do?
"In order to test this item, I would like you to stay for another half hour tomorrow. I arrange the schedule with the restaurant manager. All necessary materials are available. The dining room staff knows they will work with you, but you must explain exactly what information you require (resources needed, authority, and responsibility).
“I want your report by 2:30 a.m. tomorrow (timeline).
“Do you understand how to fill out the standard prescription cost form we use? This process was covered in his junior technical training class for apprentices. If you have any problems please look at this material (to give the trainee proper reading) or come to me for help (provide training and offer support).”
The next day he reviewed the report and gave Kuldip feedback on what he had done well and what could be improved.
- Collaborating chefs © go2HR. Used with permission
- High five with 3 people © go2HR. Used with permission
- A cook preparing dishes © go2HR. Used with permission