Managing expectations: Is your manager right for your business?

After scouring through the seemingly endless pile of CVs to find what is, in your mind, the chosen one, and then going through the interview process and calling referees that give glowing reviews (that is, after all, why they’ve been put forward), you think the position is filled like a perfect profiterole.


The first month is pure honeymoon. The newly appointed manager cannot put a foot wrong and you feel rather pleased with yourself for finding such a top pick.


Time goes by, however, and you’re starting to become frustrated with little things that haven’t been done and the attention to detail that is just not there.


Here are a few tell-tale signs that the pressure of hospitality management may not be their cup of tea.


Any one of these behaviours should sound warning bells. More than two – sound the alarm!


Deadline phobia


A deadline is a commitment. A manager that cannot set or stick to deadlines has commitment issues. Failure to set and meet deadlines also means that no one can ever feel a true sense of achievement.


How can you celebrate milestones if there are none?


Too much focus on small tasks


Years ago, I was working in a large restaurant with many managers and there was one in particular that was hired to be a day manager for the café side of the business. He was always on time, his data was always up to date and he would always volunteer for projects that he had no training or skill for, like marketing plans, menu design and supplier management.


It was all ‘busy work’ to hide the fact the he couldn’t do the job he was hired for.


Preference for weak candidates


This is one blunder that happens far too often! Take, for example, a café manager and assistant manager interviewing three candidates for a new position. One is clearly too inexperienced, the second is too cocky and rubs everyone the wrong way and the third stands head and shoulders above the rest.


Who do you think the managers hire?


The junior!


They feel threatened by the confident and competent candidate; the managers simply don’t have the experience to know that you should seek to hire people smarter and more capable than yourself.




“I know she’s always late, but if I raise the subject, she’ll be hurt.”


An inability to be direct and honest with staff is a critical warning sign. Can your manager see a problem, address it headlong and move on? If not, problems won’t be resolved; they’ll only get bigger.


When managers say staff are too sensitive, they are usually describing themselves. Shrinking violets don’t make great leaders; weed them out. Interestingly, secrecy and over-sensitivity almost always travel together. They are a bias against honesty.


Not all that glitters is gold


You’ve seen it before. The (supposed) perfect manager: they have worked in some of the city’s best venues and are well-respected by their peers. You think to yourself “if they can manage a three-hat venue they can run mine and take it to the next level!”


What you don’t know is that this manager was simply a headwaiter that the staff looked to for guidance and that the upper management did not look to or involve them in any decisions about marketing, financials or other important tasks.


It won’t take long to realise you’ve hired a headwaiter, not a venue manager – hopefully, before it’s too late.


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