Today, I took a step back in time. I stopped and thought about my first day as a restaurant manager on New Year’s Eve 2001. Actually, I blocked that shift out of my memory because three servers no called/no showed and I was nothing more than someone with keys and a manager card. On January 2nd, though my regional manager met me at the restaurant and gave me a great piece of advice. He said,” For the first couple of weeks I want you to listen more than you talk and observe more than you act.” This was a great piece of advice.
Too many managers start their new job with the intent of righting all wrongs and becoming the MVP of the restaurant. Six months later they are burnt out and wondering why no one values their contributions. Seldom to they realize that the actions they took in the beginning limited their effectiveness and set back their agenda. Alienating the staff and fellow managers by coming in with a brash attitude breeds resentment and makes creating change a Sisyphean task. Unfortunately, some of the most promising managers have their effectiveness destroyed by failing to take a measured approach when they are starting a new job.
In today’s post at The Restaurant Manager’s Office, Advice For A New Restaurant Manager, I try to make the case to new managers for listening and observing when they are just starting out. I feel that this advice often represents the difference between success and failure in the long-term. This is particularly important for managers who have been promoted from hourly jobs within the industry. For those who are just starting out, this will save a great deal of headaches. For managers who have been around for a while, maybe leave a copy of this post on the desk when a new manager is starting out. Trust me, they will thank you.