In a restaurant environment — and most any work environment — work roles will change when teams begin to form. As the restaurant manager, it’s your job to begin preparing for the inevitable resistance. It will start with the familiar complaint: “That’s not my job,” or an assortment of variations: “We’ve never done it that way before,” and “Do I get a pay increase for doing that?” Many of the problems that teams suffer generally fall under the category “resistance to change.”
No matter how hard restaurant managers push employees toward constantly improved performance, there will always be those employees who prefer stable, predictable work — jobs that can be explained on a half-page job description and mastered in a half-day training session. After all, it’s just restaurant work … right?
In a team environment, employees will often be asked to learn several jobs, be ready to switch jobs, move into leadership positions, master new skills and back up others. It’s no wonder you’ll find resistance.
Nowhere is this resistance stronger than among supervisors and managers. For many, not only will their job duties change, but they will be asked to change their communication style, the way they give instructions and how they use their power. “Position power,” based on title, gives way to personal power. And when you ask people to give that up and help out the lower-level employees, expect that a few feathers will be ruffled.
When you make the decision to change your culture, no one will be exempt from the pain of that change. But don’t let that scare you. Instead, think about how best to introduce the change — gradual change is often best.
And think of how you will deal with those who are hurt by the change. It’s often easiest if everyone on staff is asked to make changes. There shouldn’t be any exemptions — particularly among management staff. If egos become bruised, treat the injured parties with respect and care. Leaders and supervisors who lose their authority and whose concerns are ignored can poison the rest of the team with their grievances.
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