We think of leaders as people who talk, bark out orders and direct others because they are portrayed that way in movies and TV, and some are that way. But in my experience, great leaders don’t act like the stereotypes we see in movies and on TV. Leaders don’t bark out orders, in fact, great leaders serve. Great leaders act more like concierges at great hotels constantly solving problems, proactively making customers feel good, ensuring their employees have the resources they need and breaking through organizational obstacles. Great leaders even answer their phone and emails!
I was confused about the time of a meeting I was to attend as a member of the National Council of Washington University School of Law. Having only my cell phone I wasn’t sure who to call. So I asked Siri for the phone number of Washington University in St. Louis. I got the University’s general switchboard. I then said, “I need to speak to the Dean’s office at the school of law.” They transferred my call and I heard the Dean say, “Hello, this is Dean Nancy Staudt.” I was shocked. If I wanted to talk to the Dean of one of the other top law schools around the country, I would have to wait for days. This Dean answers her phone. That’s a Concierge Leader!
If you want to get ahead and be a great leader, you need to think and act like a Concierge.
But what does that mean?
Earlier this week I sat next to the concierge desk in my residential building in Dallas at the Ritz Carlton and watched as a top concierge, Houston Monroe, performed his job. I was able to observe the reaction of residents as he listened to requests, solved problems, greeted others and did what concierges do. Afterwards, I asked him what he thought made him a great concierge. Here is his list:
- Listen – Don’t have an answer ready. Process the conversation.
- Treat each guest as if they are the only guest.
- Be proactive in providing service. Anticipate.
- Always offer additional services beyond the one you just did.
- Notice the details. They create the whole picture and even the most minute may be the most important.
- Communicate effectively. Yes or no is not enough. Ensure the information is correct by repeating and confirming.
Think of employees and customers as guests, and the list translates pretty well.
Concierge Leaders know they are in the business of serving, not commanding.
So much of leadership is given by those you lead. It can’t be taken.
Imagine the customer and employee satisfaction you would experience if your mentality was one of “how can I help” instead of “here is what I want from you.” Houston Monroe has been promoted to a higher level and I expect will continue to succeed greatly in the Ritz Carlton organization because he is already a Concierge Leader.
If you want to lead, if you seek to be great, think and act like a concierge. And answer your phone and emails like Dean Staudt who runs one of the top law schools in the country. She clearly didn’t get the memo that important folks are supposed to be hard to reach.
Copyright, Cash Nickerson, All Rights Reserved