Etiquette & Engagement: Composed

Imagine if every person acted like a lady or gentleman…..

Etiquette Tip: Ladies and gentlemen are composed when in a leadership role.

A record-high day for your company in the stock market. A negative story in the news that just won’t go away. Your boss just informed you of a reorganization. All of these scenarios invoke an emotion, be it positive or negative, in your employees, and leaders need to stay calm and set the tone for the office. As a leader, you have an elevated level of responsibility and accountability that requires you to maintain composure through the ups and downs. Dr. Sigal Barsade, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, notes in her article “Emotional Contagion” at Work that executives can “create more positive team dynamics, increase performance, and decrease turnover by consciously managing their own emotions and the emotions they want to spread.” Whether your organization is facing a global economic downturn or a struggle within a particular work team, leaders should remain calm in order to maintain the confidence and trust of their employees. A lack of composure on the leadership team can increase employee stress and prolong problem resolution. At The Ritz-Carlton, our Employee Promise emphasizes trust, honesty, respect, integrity and commitment. These qualities lead to greater professionalism and composure among all of our staff, but especially our leaders who need to model our standards for their teams. 

The motto of The Ritz-Carlton is “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto sets a tone of goodwill and grace for all.

Etiquette & Engagement: Professional

Imagine if every person acted like a lady or gentleman…..

Etiquette Tip: Ladies and gentlemen are professional when communicating by email.

Although your co-workers might have a good sense of humor, it’s important to remember that there are limitations to what is appropriate. This is especially important when considering email, as your colleagues are using this medium to maintain important information and client relationships. With that in mind, think twice before sharing a video or article you think is amusing since not everyone finds the same things funny. You want to ensure everything you put in writing or share online is respectful of different cultures, family types, etc. Political messages can be particularly polarizing, so avoiding this area altogether is advised. You may feel passionately about an issue, but your propaganda should not enter the workplace. There might be opportunities to spend time with your colleagues and engage in discussion on topics beyond the scope of your work; however, work email is not the place to do that. Ladies and gentlemen are always cognizant of how they carry themselves in person and e-decorum should match. 

The motto of The Ritz-Carlton is “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto sets a tone of goodwill and grace for all.

Significant Stat: Millennials are already Managers

28% of millennials are management level already. (source)

Advice from Diana Oreck, Former Vice President of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

I often tease the President of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., Mr. Herve Humler, and say, “I have the best job in the company, not you!” In my position as Vice President of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, it is an absolute honor to share the best practices of The Ritz-Carlton in the areas of culture transformation, legendary service and leadership with all different types of industries and companies.

Over the last 18 months, the topic of millennials has come up at virtually every class, presentation and symposium. The thing that has struck me most vividly is there seems to be a significant amount of managers who are actually afraid of millennials. The hue and cry seems to be “but they are so different.” I think some of us are suffering from editing history. Every generation has been different.

Being frightened of millennials and throwing our hands up in despair is not constructive. After all, they are the future leaders of the world. In fact, 28 percent of them are already managers. Many millennials are accused of having a sense of entitlement and are unrealistic about the timeframe in which they expect a promotion. If we are being truthful, society helped create this entitlement by catering to millennials, telling them they could be anything they wanted and giving them a trophy just for participating.

Next time a millennial approaches and wants to know when their unrealistic promotion will be, I recommend this approach.

  1. Do not be dismissive or frightened
  2. Praise them on their passion and ambition
  3. Explain they must still get some real-world experience
  4. Explain the pathway they will need to take to attain their next promotion and approximate time frame

I have found millennials to be very reasonable once they understand the “why” of situations.

At The Ritz-Carlton one of our Key Success Factors reads, “Inspire Exceptional Ladies and Gentlemen.” Developing millennials and growing their skills within appropriate time frames to mold them into terrific future senior leaders is definitely “our pleasure.” The millennials have been arguably referred to as “the next best generation of all.” Let’s treat them that way. 

Join us for a one-day symposium on November 12th. The day includes a Ritz-Carlton executive panel with Herve Humler, president & chief operations officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

Dear Ritz-Carlton: Managers Connecting with Employees

Dear Ritz-Carlton: How do managers at The Ritz-Carlton connect with employees?

Answer from Jeff Hargett, Senior Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

Photo of Jeff Hargett

There is a difference between Management and Leadership: “Things” (budgets, invoices, scheduling, reports) are managed behind a desk in an office. People are led. Therefore, in order for leaders to best connect with their staff, they need to be in the mix with their team. One of the characteristics of Emotional Intelligence is Social Skills. Leaders need to develop these skills by interacting with their direct reports so that there is a strong teamwork atmosphere. We call it “Lateral Service.” The leaders from various departments at The Ritz-Carlton can be found in the Heart of the House helping to prep for a banquet or up on the floors stripping dirty linens when there is a “tight-turn.” These opportunities build great connections and camaraderie among the staff. As for remote employees, leaders can’t limit their connections to just emails. A phone call out of the blue to “check in” can work wonders. Managers should make connecting with employees a priority. 

Join us for a one-day symposium, “Your Journey to Service Excellence.” The day includes a keynote speaker, a Q&A session with The Ritz-Carlton executive panel, an optional networking reception and presentations about legendary service, employee engagement and a customer-centric culture.

First-Class Leaders are Models of Ethics

Many successful organizations have values such as: “Caring about our communities and our environment” (Whole Foods), “Full Disclosure and Transparency” (Rackspace), “Welcome feedback and help us improve” (Toms Shoes), and “It’s better to do one thing really, really well” (Google). Core values not only shape the culture of your organization, but they also inform your employees about the expected standards of behavior.

Establishing and sharing your organizational values is a good start. However, in order for these ethical standards to take root, they must be lived and modeled by your leadership. Modeling is a powerful leadership strategy that shows your employees—through your own words and actions—how you want them to behave. By demonstrating these desirable traits, your employees are more likely to emulate your behavior in their interactions with each other and with your customers.

Leadership Ethics Have Impact

In the article “Managing the Immoral Employee,” the author states that, “leaders’ morality level determines the degree to which employees perceive the organization as ethical or unethical. For managers, the implication is clear: if you want your employees to act morally, start by acting morally yourself.”

Similarly, one of the principal findings of the Ethics Resource Center’s National Business Ethics Survey was that modeling of ethical behavior by leaders sets a good example of desired business behavior in others. When employees perceive leaders are ethical and acting with integrity, they themselves:

  • Feel less pressure to compromise their own ethical standards
  • Are less likely to engage in misconduct
  • Are more satisfied with their organization overall
  • Feel more valued as employees

Here are a few key ways you can incorporate modeling ethics into your leadership style:

  • Always treat all employees with the utmost respect. Avoid the appearance of favoritism. Regardless of differences, positions, titles, ages, or other types of distinctions, always treat your team with professional respect and courtesy. If you treat each employee differently, you will send mixed messages.
  • Be clear about what your expectations are. As a leader, you need to spell out exactly what is expected of your employees when it comes to ethical behavior. Demonstrate your commitment to organizational standards by having meetings and open discussions where ethics and integrity are a focal point. Additionally, share the reasoning behind certain decisions with your employees, emphasizing the ethical criteria used to make the decision. Constant reinforcement and communication helps to drive the point home and keep it on the forefront.
  • Recognize your employees for ethical conduct. There are lots of ways to recognize employees for above and beyond service, but look for ways to incorporate ethical behavior into your recognition programs. This will help reinforce desired behavior for everyone.

Values Should Be Reinforced

The article “How Unethical Behavior Becomes Habit” points out that “people often start their misconduct with small transgressions and then slide down a slippery slope.” Employees will be more likely to continuously make right choices if management demonstrates its on-going commitment to ethics.

Senior leaders at The Ritz-Carlton play a key role in modeling the Gold Standards and Values of The Ritz-Carton. The business ethics training program, “How We Do Business Is As Important As The Business We Do,” is a required part of orientation for employees of The Ritz-Carlton. The discussion of ethics begins there, but it is sustained and reinforced through the words and actions of leadership. Values are discussed each day at Line-Up, a meeting held daily at Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world.

When your employees witness managers acting with integrity and showing ethical responsibility, your organizational values will go from being noble ideas to accepted benchmarks that guide employees’ behavior. 

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center offers advisory services, courses and presentations to organizations that wish to benchmark the award-winning business practices of The Ritz-Carlton.