Management v Leadership. Peter Drucker, the famous management, and leadership expert captures the essence of why managers and leaders are different:


“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”



However, to be successful as a leader in the hospitality Industry a manager must learn the skills of managing as well as the art of leadership.  The two are not exclusive to each other and there is much overlap.  

We can see how leadership skills become much more important as managers rise to more senior levels and have to operate in an increasingly strategic way, but it is during their time in more junior positions that managers can start to transform into leaders.  

Whether that is developing greater emotional intelligence (and see this article for more on EQ as a leader) or learning how to motivate and inspire at an individual and team level, building key leadership skills is essential for individual and team success.

As a starting point, first-time managers in the hospitality industry must learn to organise themselves and others to achieve their goals.  They can do this by mastering the five principles of management outlined by Peter Drucker:

  • To set objectives for the team and communicate them effectively
  • To organise the workflow into manageable activities, divided amongst the team
  • To use communication to integrate the team
  • To measure performance and quality to ensure it is on the right track
  • To develop individuals in the team to grow their skill levels to perform better

Why should managers become leaders?

The list above seems very comprehensive, so why should managers try and develop their leadership qualities?  It is useful to think of  management as having a focus on control, delegation, processes and productivity and leadership as having the ability to create a vision for success and inspire others to achieve that vision by engaging and transforming an average team to a high performing one or to develop innovative solutions to challenges. 

This is why leadership is so crucial for any business as it helps organisations grow and develop.

The two certainly go hand in hand and organisations need good managers as well as effective leaders. Clearly, successful leaders in the hospitality industry also need to be effective managers. For example, Bruce Faber whose CV includes senior roles at  Lincoln Park Zoo, Spiaggia, Chestnut Street Grill and Bistro 110, explains with his philosophy that the success of any hospitality organisation depends on its employees. 

However, managers working in the industry don’t have to be senior to be able to come up with big ideas, inspire employees, take on risk, or engage employees.


What does good manager training look like?

It is important that people Managers and HR departments implement effective leadership development programmes aligned to the organisation’s goals and strategic objectives. In addition to this, good management training should include a mix of management tools and techniques as well as key leadership skills.  

For example, being able to implement change effectively in a hotel setting will require a good degree of planning and organising but will equally need someone who can communicate effectively and motivate and inspire people to drive the change agenda forward.  

Therefore an effective training programme would typically include some of the elements that make an effective leader; communication skills, relationship management, strategic mindset, leading change and being able to use different leadership styles as well as covering the five principles of management outlined by Drucker.

People managers/HR can help transform managers into leaders by developing programmes that have a healthy mix of management as well as leadership skills within them.  

In addition it is also useful to help managers reflect on their current leadership styles by using psychometric testing or even simple online tools such as this one to help them understand how they lead and more importantly how their style and approach influences others.

“The single biggest way to impact an organisation is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organisation that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them”

John C. Maxwell



What can Managers in the Hospitality Industry do next?

As an individual manager you should be reflecting on your own style of leadership and asking yourself how you might grow and develop key leadership skills.  

As a HR or people manager you should be reviewing your current leadership and management training programmes to make sure they are capable of developing great leaders to take your organisation forward in the future.