Whether you’re managing a restaurant, a convenience store, or any service business, you’re a role model for your staff. Your values, attitudes, and behaviors set the standard for what you expect from others. If you want your employees to treat each other with respect, you must model respectful behavior yourself. If you want your employees to deliver exceptional service, you must treat customers with superior service yourself. It’s your actions – not your policies – that influence the performance of your staff.

Be a Better Role Model

Managers are on stage every day. Employees, customers, vendors, and many others are watching your every move and learning from your behavior. To be an effective role model, you must exemplify these characteristics every day:

  • Hard work. Effective role models work hard and pitch in when their staff needs help, always demonstrating a commitment to company goals. No task is below you as a manager. If the floor needs to be mopped and there is no one available to do it, do it yourself, and do it well. Not only does that ensure critical tasks are completed, it also shows employees that the “it’s-not-my-job” mentality isn’t allowed.
  • Trust. Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. Show your team that you can be trusted by always being fair, honest, and consistent. Don’t engage in gossip, and don’t tolerate it within your staff. Employees need to know you have their backs, and you should take every opportunity you can to prove it.
  • Accountability. Role models take responsibility for their actions and inspire others to do the same. If you make a mistake, admit it and let the team know how you plan to correct the situation. Never blame others or make excuses.
  • Respect. Always show respect for all individuals; customers, employees and vendors. Respect is paramount in every situation, and is especially important during situations when you have to correct behavior. Never criticize an employee in public, and keep your feedback focused on the task at hand.
  • Positivity. Business is nothing if not unpredictable. As a manager, you need to be prepared to deal with high stress situations. Your team will be watching closely as you handle challenges. If you overreact or get easily overwhelmed, your staff will be inclined to do the same. Model the positive behavior you expect from your staff.
  • Persistence. Steady persistence in the face of obstacles or difficulties means your team can count on you in tough times. Don’t abandon tasks when times are tough, approach them with a sense of urgency and resolve.
  • Integrity. You must follow every rule you expect your staff to follow. Some managers think their position allows them bend the rules here and there. Not so. Being on time, staying productive, and following all company policies is critical to being an effective role model.

Train Managers to be Role Models

Being an effective role model is only one part of successful leadership. At every level of management, there’s room to learn and grow. Put your management team on the right track with training programs for assistant managers, store managers, and district managers.