Colgate Inn: Show Some Respect

In our academic pursuits at Colgate, we became interested in studying qualities of leadership and what distinguishes a bad leader from a charismatic and inspirational leader. Yet it was through our experiences as a waitress and hostess that the Colgate Inn became our informal laboratory for some simple lessons of leadership, namely what not to do. With five years of employment between us, we impart some suggestions to improve the quality of leadership of the current innkeeper, William Benjamin Eberhardt III. During a recent staff meeting, Ben remarked, “You doubted that it could be done, but I made it happen,” regarding the increased success after the management change; further stating that the recent success was “only a product of me and my management team.” What Ben failed to realize, however, was that the negative attitudes and tense work environment were also a products of him. Therefore, Ben, to truly “take the Inn to the next level,” you might consider revising your leadership strategies because change in your employees will only come through a change in you. Hostile work environments doesn’t even work in the military. Thank you for serving in the Army. We sincerely appreciate the sacrifices you have made for our country. However, realize that you quickly lose respect from your civilian employees when you try to use the techniques of leading with fear and motivating by yelling. Fear is an ineffective method of control. If people only fear you, they don’t respect you and will only do what is necessary while you are there monitoring them intently. When you are gone, you have not inspired them to continue in the manner you would prefer, but rather to do as little as possible just to spite you for being so abrasive and controlling. Believing everyone is going to fail only increases the probability that they will. Instead of micromanaging and needlessly shouting, try using a calm and steady voice to rationally explain to your employees what you want from them and give them the opportunity to do it on their own. You might be surprised that when you actually give people room to meet your expectations they may even surpass them. Give Praise Freely; Use Criticism Sparingly: Let’s face it, restaurant service is a thankless job. In addition to dealing with those customers that are impatient, poor tippers and the meager hourly wages, no one needs the sharp criticism behind the pantry doors to supplement the malaise. Research has shown that praising employees fosters a positive feeling that improves their work performance and attitudes. Even small, sincere compliments to recognize the positive contributions your employees make will make them want to work harder for you. Although you are obviously not eager to be nice to people who aren’t sitting at the tables, as a businessman, you should be willing to take this small step to get extra work per hour from your under-paid employees. Criticism will only do the opposite.Hasty Categorization Perpetuates Negative Relationships: By endorsing Colgate stereotypes and treating people according to those categories, you create a divided community. For instance, as student workers, you accused us of treating co-workers as if we were superior to them merely because we attend Colgate. However, we had positive relationships with co-workers, often baking them cookies, exchanging comedic banter and going out for a drink after a shift. It was completely unsubstantiated to claim we elevated ourselves in any way simply because we are Colgate students. It was our co-workers that made our experience at the Inn great-in spite of you. By taking a more active role in discovering the experiences and background of your employees, you would realize how much they have to offer your company and its clientele. If anything, you endorse Colgate stereotypes by giving Colgate-affiliated patrons preferential treatment by accommodating them at the expense of others. You allowed those stereotypes to unfairly influence your treatment of customers while simultaneously treating us with contempt. While we admit that there have been good decisions and improvements made under your management, there are still many changes needed. By shifting your leadership style from a militaristic approach to a more cooperative one, this would foster positive communication between management and employees to advance the success of the Inn. Furthermore, simple steps can be taken to create a more productive work environment such as offering genuine compliments for a job well done and providing constructive criticism instead of chastising employees to the point of tears. You would be surprised how far the simple phrase “thank you” will go. As a result, you may find that instead of fearing and loathing you, your employees may actually like and respect you.