Communication is the foundation of all interaction between people, including superiors and subordinates. At times, superiors tend to be domineering and demanding when they speak to their subordinates. Being a domineering leader can bring about unpleasantness in the workplace environment because it promotes a working environment that is not open and receptive.
Conversely, being a supportive leader promotes a healthy environment that everyone enjoys working in. It can help make interpersonal communication more pleasant, thus enhancing the workplace environment through teamwork and open communication. According to the guest relations officer at Naumi Liora, “He (her senior colleague) doesn’t boss around, he doesn’t put in a way like he is more senior than me. He can lead me to do things without making feel like I am inferior.”. She further elaborated that some colleagues tend to be more domineering, especially when delegating tasks, which makes the recipient feel unappreciated.
Judging from the comment above, employees may feel demoralized and unenthusiastic about work due to domineering managers. Therefore, it is important for managers to practice being supportive as this can facilitate communication and cooperation among employees. If done well and correctly, being a supportive leader can help to improve interpersonal communications, promote a healthier working environment and enhance employee well-being (Hammer, L. et al, 2013).
The specific workplace context chosen for study is in a hotel, where interpersonal communications occur daily, especially between various operations departments. Choosing the hotel as a workplace context can be more relatable as well, especially for students of the hospitality industry. This can also serve as a reminder for them who may become managers in the future.
Nature of Project’s Professional Importance
In the article titled “Learning to Lead Without Authority” (Great Work Cultures, 2016), it is stated that real leaders bring genuine impact to their communities without hierarchy by realising that the true force of an organisation or hotel are front line employees who are in-charge of daily operations. This practice is crucial as most employees or subordinates often look upon managers and learn from them through mentoring or coaching. Hence, it is important for managers to set a good example by being supportive so as to strengthen teamwork and coordination among employees.
Objective and Scope of Study
The objective and scope of the study is to showcase the difference between a supportive and domineering leader. There is a need to understand the undesirable consequences of leading with a domineering tone and how it affects people within the workplace environment. This will raise awareness among future hotel managers and serve as a measure to prevent communication breakdown in a hotel environment.
Proposed Research Method
An interview conducted with one of Naumi Hotel’s front office agent was used as primary source to justify the existence of the interpersonal communication problem while related articles were used as secondary research sources for cross referencing.
The project will be emphasizing the importance of being a supportive hotel manager and the impacts supportive hotel manager will bring upon. Recommendations and benefits will also be highlighted so as to help potential managers understand what kind of behaviours they should adopt to be a supportive leader and what positive outcomes can be expected.
The recommendations that the team will be focusing on are the fundamental behaviours that a supportive leader should have. By focusing on the fundamental behaviours, it can allow potential managers to have a better understanding and a head start on how to act accordingly to be a supportive leader.
Benefits highlighted will revolve around the hotels and employees. These are usually the area of ‘interests’ for potential managers as these factors are greatly related to performance measurement. Highlighting on the benefits can also allow potential managers to realise how relevant the scope of study is.
Previous studies have shown that the performance in organisations is directly related to the leadership behaviour. This means that organisational leaders have to be supportive in order to enhance employees’ performance in the organisations (Center for Creative Leadership, n.d.). Therefore, several behaviours of a supportive leader are recommended in order to allow potential managers to be supportive so as to promote a healthy working environment.
According to Gibbs’ defensive and supportive communication model (refer to Table 1), empathy is one of the communications strategies adopted by supportive leaders. Thus, the first recommended behaviour of a supportive manager would be to show empathy towards employees.
According to Horwitz (2013), there are valid explanations for an incident, managers should manage their own biases and adapt to the different listening styles of employees. Managers should be empathetic towards employees and guide them along any mistakes, to allow them to learn from experiences, instead of reprimanding them for not performing well.
The next behaviour that a supportive manager should adopt is to be an active listener. One of the most supportive things a person can do for anyone is to really listen. This is even truer when a person is in any position of power, especially managers (Eikenberry, 2010). Managers should always involve employees in daily meetings or discussions sessions by asking for suggestions with regards to any issues that arose.
Another study done by Yukl (as cited in Simmons, 2010) on ‘Nine Supportive Leadership Behaviour’ listed “Be patient and helpful when giving instructions or explanations” as one of the behaviour that supportive leaders should work on. It is important for managers to be patient when delegating tasks to employees with a friendly and helpful tone. By doing so, the managers will also appear as more approachable by the employees, which can in turn facilitate better communication.
Benefits to the workplace
Various studies have proven that being a supportive leader or manager can bring forth several benefits for the organisations. The first benefit would be improved work performance of employees. According to Simmons (2010), if a manager practice supportive leadership, the employees will likely be more satisfied with the manager and their jobs. With an increased satisfaction level, employees in turn be more willing to perform well in their jobs and hence benefitting the hotel in terms of brand reputation and recognition.
In an interview with Kossek (Purdue University, 2016), a research conducted with regards to the benefits from having supportive leaders showed that teaching managers to be more supportive can have cost savings for turnover and lower stress. The can be another great benefit to the hotel as well, as labour is often one of the major contributor to overall operational costs of a hotel.
Being a supportive manager can also benefit the working environment by promoting healthy working relationships between manager and employees. This is supported by a study conducted by Yukl (as cited in Simmons, 2010), which explained that supportive leadership helps to build and maintain effective interpersonal relationships. This can help to enhance team dynamics among the employees and facilitate better communication within the workplace.
With the primary and secondary resources collected, it is evident that having supportive leadership is crucial in hotels. By focusing on the topic of “How to be a supportive hotel operations manager”, the team hopes that this study can help to minimise miscommunication and create a better working culture within hotels.
creducation.org. (n.d.). Defensive and Supportive Communication. Retrieved from Interpersonal Skills – Respect vs Disrespect: http://www.creducation.org/resources/interpersonal_skills_module/defensive_and_supportive_communication.html
Dodds, C. (2016, August 8). How to lead without authority. Retrieved from BestTech.io: https://besttech.io/how-to-lead-without-authority-e10036b95958#.5rcq5ycup
Eikenberry, K. (2010, July 5). Eight Supportive Behaviors Every Coach (and Person) Should Use. Retrieved from Leadership & Learning: http://blog.kevineikenberry.com/leadership-supervisory-skills/eight-supportive-behaviors-every-coach-and-person-should-use/
Great Work Cultures. (2016, July 27). Learning to Lead Without Authority. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/great-work-cultures/learning-to-lead-without_b_7883062.html
Hammer, L., Ernst Kossek, E., Bodner, T., & Crain, T. (2013). Measurement development and validation of the Family Supportive Supervisor Behavior Short-Form (FSSB-SF). Journal Of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(3), 285-296.
Horwitz, R. (2013, June 11). 9 Ways to Influence Without Authority. Retrieved from HRVoice.org: http://www.hrvoice.org/9-ways-to-influence-without-authority/
Jessica. (2016, January 29). Leading Innovation: The Importance of Leadership in Innovation. Retrieved from Soapbox: https://soapboxhq.com/leading-innovation/
Purdue University. (2016). EMPLOYEES AND COMPANIES BENEFIT FROM SUPPORTIVE SUPERVISORS. Retrieved from Purdue Krannert: http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/news/features/kossek-fssb.php
Simmons, B. L. (2010, September 24). Nine Supportive Leadership Behaviors. Retrieved from Positive Organizational Behavior: http://www.bretlsimmons.com/2010-09/nine-supportive-leadership-behaviors/