Lessons in leadership from a master of disaster

You don’t always have to learn from the best. You can learn a lot from your own mistakes but it’s less painful to learn from someone else’s. So I am recommending lessons in leadership from a master of disaster. Learn how not to do it and save yourself the pain, frustration and indignity. Let Mark make the mistakes. Benefit from being able to observe what happens when leaders lack insight into how their behaviour affects those they manage.

 If you think the secret of success is a combination of long hours, lots of good ideas and loads of enthusiasm then see what happens as efforts are redoubled as the crisis deepens. All managers sign up to the idea of delegation but have concerns about the implications see what happens when a manager really does believe they can do it better themselves. Mark is surely not the first manager to think that all his problems would be solved if only he could clone himself, as he says with half a dozen “Marks” I would have a profitable, well run, 5 star hotel.

Mark has lots of ideas for attracting more customers and so increasing income but in his enthusiasm he doesn’t always think things through and fails to listen to those who raise issues with a dismissive wave and a don’t bother me with the detail. See what happens when Mark’s mantra of give the customer what they want is applied to breakfast sausages or the sale of tickets for the” ladies night”.

Has your organisation ever engaged management consultants as a “critical friend”, brought in some external expertise to give advice or sort independent help in preparing for an inspection? Did it go well? How did staff react? Were significant improvements introduced as a result? Mark thought it would be a good idea. We get to hear Mark describe his vision for a five star hotel contrasted with the reality of the inspection and the cynicism of staff. We get the management team’s reaction to the inspector’s findings from his undercover visit and we get to see the frantic last minute preparations for the follow up visit. Sound familiar?

Hotel is not a comedy; it is not a spoof fly on the wall documentary, it’s funny, frustrating and nothing like where you work.  (Hotel channel 4 Sunday evenings http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-hotel )

Blair McPherson author of Equipping managers for an uncertain future published by Russell House www.blairmcpherson.co.uk    

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