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In the second article covering the recent Hospitality Resilience Series, we’re sharing insight and actionable tips on how you can shift yourself, your team and your organization to a dynamic leadership style. Joining the Series for this conversation was global experiential leadership trainer, Patrick Ghielmetti. Following a stellar career at the top of hospitality and HR, Patrick is now recognized worldwide for improving bottom-line results and changing mindsets.

Now, more than ever, hospitality organizations need to be dynamic at every level. And it starts with the leaders. So, as a leader, how do you know if your thinking is static or dynamic? And how do you make the shift? For Patrick, the difference between Static and Dynamic leadership is centred around Resistance and Acceptance. “Everything starts with an event, and there are two dfiferent ways to react. Either you resist or accept.”


Static leadership – resistance

“Resistance falls into the static leadership style, it is a belief that the world must look a certain way and must allow you to do things your way. This holds you back, sure you’ll still take action, but it’s an automatic reaction based on the past, not a conscious choice. It’s a safe approach that looks to maintain the status quo.”


“…it gives you the feeling of being in control, but it is actually the illusion of control.”


“This reaction isn’t right or wrong, and thinking this way may generate results that might suffice. But ultimately, you’re staying somewhere comfortable that gives you the feeling of being in control in the midst of an event, such as Covid-19, but it is actually the illusion of control. This is static leadership.”


Dynamic leadership – acceptance

“Take the same event, Covid-19, but you move from resistance to acceptance. Acceptance is an objective inventory take of a situation, a neutral look with no judgement or emotion. You don’t label the event as good or bad, it is here and has happened, but you’re not judging it as right or wrong and it is irrelevant whether you like the event or not. Thinking this way, you can now create a way forward. I call this approach ‘now what?’.


“…you will be out of your comfort zone…”


“The moment this happens, you’re in the present, you’re open and have the opportunity to create something different, new results, to evolve and achieve continued growth even in tough times. But you will be taken out of your comfort zone and have to take risks. The envisioned result may materialise or it may not, and if not then a dynamic leader goes back to acceptance, not resistance. OK, it didn’t happen, now what?”


Don’t get stuck in the past – how to shift to dynamic thinking

How can you tell when you’re leading in a static way, and what can you do in that moment to spot it and start the shift to dynamic? For Patrick, it’s all about awareness. “It’s noticing, when I notice I’m acting from resistance, I know I’ll generate nothing new. For example, when Covid hit, for two months, I put so much energy into ‘poor me’ and feeling it wasn’t unfair, that I had nothing left for moving forward. When I noticed this wasn’t working for me and became aware, then I shifted to acceptance. It’s all about constant practice and knowing that you always have a choice in every moment.


Take your team, and your organization, with you

Making an individual transition to being more aware of your thinking, and whether you’re accepting or resisting events, is a crucial first step. But once you can see the benefits, how do you then get your teams, and even your bosses, thinking and acting the same way? Transformation only works if there is a readiness, as Patrick explains. “I see a hunger for this new way of being in most of my clients, but the environment needs to support it. If the organizational culture is hell-bent on being stuck in the past, because they need to ‘be right about it’, then not much will change. This old school approach of being safe, surviving, ‘my way or the highway’ simply won’t work any more.


“…greater team cohesion, greater team effectiveness and more results.”


“Organizational change starts with you as an individual – where am I, in acceptance or am I in resistance? Then you can influence the wider business. As a team starts to become more aware, they start to own acceptance of events and weaknesses because they don’t make themselves wrong anymore. Crucially, they start to share very authentically with one another, resulting in greater team cohesion, greater team effectiveness and they yield more results.”


A crucial mindset for modern GM

The role of a General Manager has changed immeasurably over the last twenty years, and is set to shift even more post-covid. Patrick believes shifting to a dynamic leadership style is crucial to success in this new world of expectations and responsibilities. “If I went back into my GM role now, a different approach would be necessary, it’s no longer ok to just be ‘good with guests’. The ‘Accept and Resist model’ gives GMs the opportunity to assess ‘where am I right now and is what I’m doing yielding the right results?’.”


“…hoteliers that play it safe will not survive.”


“There is no room to play it safe these days, hoteliers that play it safe will not survive. I don’t think it’s enough any more for leaders to survive, they need to think about what’s next. For example, when I was GM at Four Seasons, it was constantly looking for the next opportunity to elevate, to be excellent, and that is why we were at the top for so long.”


“Leaders must talk about their shortcomings”


As anyone who’s been through it will know, behind true change is bravery. A willingness to openly accept who you are, your weaknesses, and in doing so achieve awareness and be open to new behaviours. “To achieve a shift to dynamic leadership, whatever your role, requires a shift in being, working on your awareness, seeing when you’re resisting, being honest and practicing new behaviour.

“Leaders must talk about their shortcomings, be open with their teams and not change in secret, authenticity can fuel a new growth culture. Own your weaknesses, talk about them with your colleagues and the more credible you will be in this new way of being.”


About the Hospitality Resilience Series

This series is powered by HoCoSo, Cervus Leadership Consulting and Atlas Coaching; in association with Glion. For Glion, it was led by Jonathan Humphries, Head of International Hotel Development and Asset Management Specialization.

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