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Enhancement Techniques for Breaking the Ice

by Barbara Michalopoulou, Hospitality Consultant & Trainer, Hospitality Freelancer, Coach Undergraduate (AC)

Who is the “director” in every new team of a seasonal hotel? Who is the “movie star”?

The season begins in Greece and, once again, it’s time for us to welcome our new executives and offer warm embraces to the returning members of our team. There is always panic, a feeling of effervescence, and countless optimistic smiles. This is how every new beginning takes off- a nervous and frenzied energy, increased heart rates, rapid communication, and the finalization of the team. This is the desired frame that drives the information from the transmitter to the receiver. It is a simple process… you talk, you explain, you communicate what you want and your team watches, observes, takes notes, copies and then implements changes.

It’s nice to say all these, but how easy it is to actually achieve? We are told to conduct foreign practices, and special seminars to “break the ice” between the leader of a hotel department and his or her colleagues and long lists with the steps we have to follow in order to welcome new members and foster team bonding. We are told that it will help the whole project run smoothly and quickly.

RELATED ARTICLE Measuring your Hotel’s culture – Why and how should I do it HERE

We do not have time to lose: the hotel opens today and we must cooperate with new members who are not familiar to us. New members who feel that do not belong to our team.

And if there are old members? Then it is even more time consuming to warm up the climate!

How can we stop the team atmosphere from staying…chilly for too long? The steps are simple:

1) Let’s take a deep breath and forget about the old fashioned “etiquette” you were told to follow.

2) Most importantly, you need to listen to yourself and others. Otherwise, you will fail to identify your employee’s internal desired goal. This will lead to an inability to bond with your team mentally or unite the goals of your members. As a result, you will lose yourself as a as a leader and as a person.

3) Remember to work with your employees and for the employees. Remember to love your employees.

4) Listen to your team and “check” yourself in order to correctly understand what you can do to increase team bonding and make them work effectively without needing to nag.

5) Wear your “self-knowledge” and fill your toolbox with patience, endurance and tolerance.

6) Keep an open mind, and use your feelings to guide your thinking and behaviour.

7) Remind yourself that you are very lucky to have the opportunity to cooperate with so many different people from diverse educational levels and family cultures.

8) Really listen to what your team tells you and act immediately.

9) Throw comfortable lies such as “the team leader knows everything and makes everything always perfect” into the garbage.

If you manage to redefine all these steps, you will need neither a hammer to “break the ice”, nor any team building techniques or activities.

The ice of a newly formed team breaks slowly and steadily, bringing the desired results only with warm guidance and by showing consideration for your employees…always.

To get back to my original question, by committing to the above steps, you yourself becomes the director of this act as well as the movie star!

Take on this double role, dream big, commit yourself and build the most bonded and efficient team imaginable.

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