Throughout my time in the luxury hospitality industry, I’ve come into contact with an incredible variety of leaders. Some of them have become wonderful mentors who have shared so much of their experience and wisdom with me. For this, I am eternally grateful. Their willingness to help has inspired me to share what I’ve learned during my career. The following are some of what I believe are the most important qualities a strong hospitality leader has to offer.

Form Genuine Connections with Guests and Employees Alike

One of the most important qualities a leader in the hospitality industry can have is the ability to form genuine connections. Developing relationships is a defining aspect of hospitality. After all, your goal is to make people feel comfortable and at home. What better way to do this than to forge a relationship that makes someone feel welcome?

These genuine connections are not customer-specific, they also translate over to your employees! Successful leaders also know that they need to foster positive and encouraging relationships with their employees, not just their guests. They treat everyone on their team with respect, from the assistant manager to the cleaning staff.

Lead by Example

Strong leaders lead by example and practice what they preach. They must model the behavior that they want to see in their team. In order to respect their leader, employees need to see that they are willing to follow their own advice.

Leaders need to demonstrate positive interactions with guests and respect for their employees. When they implement new policies or give instructions, they can’t see themselves as exempt or above the rules.

Leading by example goes beyond just telling employees what to do; it involves leading above reproach. When employees see a leader implement advice, policies, and guidelines into their own everyday life in a genuine way, it creates a lasting impression. They’re sure to remember how someone acted more than a specific guideline.

Establish and Communicate a Clear Shared Vision

Another trademark of a good leader in the hospitality industry is someone who is able to effectively communicate a clear, shared vision. Most leaders can come up with a vision, but few leaders are able to create a shared vision. They need to know that their vision doesn’t just belong to them – it belongs to the entire organization! Strong leaders try to get everyone on board with their vision by making every individual feel personally invested. The goal should go beyond a written mission statement. Instead, it should be something more of a vision statement. Guests should be able to see this vision reflected through interactions with the team. Employees should feel it radiate from their interactions with each other as well.

Think about the hospitality leaders you know. What makes them stand apart from the crowd? Do they share any of these qualities?