How to take off your micro-manager hat: The positive side to policies and procedures

No one likes creating, reading or enforcing policies and procedures but you need them as a vital part of your business to ensure it runs efficiently. If there is a breakdown in communication within your business or the policies and procedures are just not being followed by staff, it will not take long for your tightly wound ball to unravel.


Over the years, I have seen the importance of thorough and relevant policies and procedures first hand. A few years ago I was the food and beverage manager/ executive chef of 13 individual venues. When I started with the restaurant group I was faced with nine individual managers, all of their venues in disarray. Thankfully there were four managers that knew up from down and were doing very well.


I spent the first four weeks of my placement assessing each venue, trying to pinpoint any standout issues. After addressing the usual, and systematically ignored, skeletons in the closet, I turned my attention to the managers of the venues, which in most cases are enablers of any issues found.


I sat and spoke with each manager individually to get their take on any issues they felt the venues had. Interestingly, the nine managers had many things in common: they felt their staff were lazy, weren’t trained to the standard they wanted, and did not follow instructions.


On the other hand, the four managers that were managing quite well all had staff that were the stars of the venue. They didn’t feel a need to direct these staff members except for the occasional directional push.


The key element that the successful venues – in the same umbrella company – had over the less successful venues were internally created daily procedures that the staff were taught upon being employed, were tested on regularly, were visible within the workplace and that the staff carried out day in, day out to the letter.


Essentially, they knew exactly what they were there to do and how to do it because their managers had explicitly written it down for them. No guess work, no doubling up on work, simple, step-by-step procedures that any hospitality staff member could follow.


With my hospitality consultant hat on, I worked with a business owner on the creation of policies and procedures for her café business some time ago. Just recently, I followed up with her to see how the business was faring and she let me know that she (and her team) have been strictly following the policies and procedures and that they were working beautifully.


She said her team knew what needed to be done by whom and when, the lines of communication were open and the trust that she placed in her supervisors was showing in their smiles.


She said that business was up, tips were up and staff moral was at an all-time high.


I asked her what the most successful outcome was from the creation of her internal policies and procedures. She replied it had given her more confidence in her team to be able to perform daily tasks without her having to micro-manage like she had in the past. She said she could now strengthen the business because she no longer had to work in the business on a day-to-day basis.


It happens all too often that the policies and procedures are forgotten about or seen as merely a formality of having a business with no real relevance to the day-to-day running of a café or restaurant. The introduction of policies and procedures is essential in any business, not just in the hospitality industry, as they bring structure and clarity to all involved and most importantly, they allow the owner to take off their micro-managing hat and continue to do what they are great at – building their business.


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