6 Skills that Set Successful Hospitality Leaders Apart

Supporting more than one in every 25 jobs in the United States, the dynamic world of hospitality is an ideal place for leaders looking to make an impact! With a strong blend of interpersonal and professional skills, successful hospitality leaders know what it takes to create incredible experiences for their guests as hotel associates. Discover these six skills that hospitality leaders leverage every day at their hotels.

1. People Skills

Hospitality professionals are fulfilled by working with people and always put others first. They know that the little things matter and will remember important quirks about colleagues and guests. Good leaders memorize the faces and names of frequent guests, so they will always be smiling and feel at home when they are welcomed back to the hotel.

General Manager Maria Anzola perfectly embodies this mindset, saying “I just love helping people, I have built a family at this property and I feel like it’s my second home.” Maria used her love of people and desire for a better life for her daughter to build a thriving career as a hospitality leader.

2. Accountability and Autonomy

While employees appreciate support, they also want to know management trusts them to do their job. Great leaders balance holding their employees accountable while giving them clear responsibilities, direction, and freedom to do their work. The best hospitality leaders guide teams effectively, but eventually trust them to complete tasks without shadowing them. 

General Manager Brandt Marott’s background in project management helped him greatly when leading his team. “I’ve taken the approach of guiding and mentoring,” Brandt explains. “And as quickly as I want to give them an answer, I’m helping them find their own answers.” 

Like Brandt, hospitality leadership works best in a culture of good morale that results in the team having a commitment to their work, and leads to higher performance and increased employee engagement.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Hospitality is a people business. That means leaders must understand and adeptly manage their thoughts and emotions. Successful managers will learn to build strong relationships with a diverse group of colleagues and also work with guests from many backgrounds. If given the opportunity, hospitality leaders do not hesitate to be mentored by a more experienced colleague. 

Assistant General Manager Gabriel Munguia leverages his General Manager, Stephano Anamisis, to gain insight only found in decades of experience. In many cases, a more senior-level professional can give the extra context needed to learn how to respond properly to guests from all over the world. Stephano, like Gabriel, learned to lead by following the example of senior colleagues. The hospitality industry is a culture that rewards sharing information bilaterally with fellow employees to empower each person’s complete success.

4. Leading by Example

Great leaders practice what they preach. Set an example and the team will follow. Like General Manager Ramon Reyes, hospitality leaders seek to bring approachability and relatability to the workplace culture. Much of Ramon’s success comes from knowing how the hotel functions from top to bottom and building opportunities for his entire team to flourish. 

Colleagues respect people who can walk the walk and talk the talk. Hospitality leaders like Ramon, are the types of people to help the housekeeping department clean rooms or help check guests in at the front desk. Through leading by example, Ramon sets the tone for his hotel’s success and empowers his team to bring their best selves to work each day.

5. Handling Conflict

Handling conflict, especially in the hospitality industry, requires management to communicate effectively and compassionately. While leadership’s job is to help represent the brand and team in their best interest, a good leader will also show empathy to customers and the different departments they work with. 

Regional Director of Operations, Alex Tacher knows that a spirit of humility goes a long way when it comes to conflict. “You don’t ever want to get stuck in a position where you think you know everything because we can all learn,” he says. “Even myself, as a regional director, I know I don’t know everything.” As Alex highlights, being an empathetic listener and an effective communicator are invaluable leadership skills when approaching conflict.

6. Collaboration

Hotel leaders work with all types of people on their teams and all types of guests. By constantly facing new challenges and interacting with unique types of people, they build people skills and the ability to lead different employees effectively. 

Peter Ricci started as a dishwasher with humble beginnings and took the initiative to develop his skill set into the life he wanted. “That’s what hospitality does, bring people together,” says Peter. “I always tell my students if you’re the kind of person who likes to help others innately, you probably have the skill set that we like – we’ll train you on the rest!” A hotel’s constant and varied, fast-paced environment will help a leader become more confident in collaboration and team-building skills. 

Become a Hospitality Leader

The hotel industry comprises people who work the front lines and leaders who know how to balance being behind the scenes and representing the hotel and its employees in front of guests. Hotel leaders act as change agents to spur professional growth in colleagues and unforgettable experiences for guests. Discover a leadership role that excites you in the hospitality industry today.