Hoofdstuk 48: Omgaan met Managers

Inevitably, as a server, the day will come when you have a conflict with a manager.  In some situations, you might be looking forward to the day when you do not have a conflict with a manager.  If you got along with all of your managers every day, they might ask you to pay them rather than paying you.  Their responsibilities and obligations are different than yours.  While often times it may appear that their job is easier, you can be assured it carries its own stress.  Managers are capable of having bad days and making bad decisions.  Just as you would appreciate patience on your bad days and grace for your bad decisions, you should offer it to them in the same measure.

Some conflicts are not as easy to overlook.  When you feel decisions are being made that will negatively affect your job and income, you may feel the need to resist these changes.  However, you are doing this at your own risk.  In the end, the managers (and the people they represent) will have the final word on the operation of the restaurant.  This is why it is imperative that you learn how to express your opinions and beliefs in a way that is most likely to bring about positive change.

Look for the Win/Win/Win:  As a server, you are obligated to look out for the guest primarily as a means of protecting your own income.  In order to protect their income, a manager is responsible to look out for the shareholders of the company, the guests, and the staff.  When these three groups are in conflict, the two that put money into the company will often outweigh the staff who receive paychecks. 

If you cannot propose a solution that benefits all three groups, you probably have not come up with an acceptable argument to change the policy.  When you have a solution that benefits all three equally, proceed to the next point.

Approach Positively and Privately:  Oftentimes, very good suggestions will be rejected immediately due to the circumstances under which they were proposed and the way in which they were presented.  If you attack your manager in front of a group of people, you can expect her or him to respond negatively to demonstrate that they are in charge.  Instead, approach the manager with your proposed solution to the problem in a positive way and out of earshot of the rest of the staff.  Give your solution as a suggestion and let them decide whether it is worth implementing.  People generally do not like to admit they were wrong, but they might make new decisions based on new information and ideas.

Pick your Battles:  No matter how well you approach your manager with a suggestion, they still must feel they are running the restaurant.  If you are constantly trying to get them to change one thing or another, they will begin rejecting you out of hand to prevent feeling like your puppet.  Do not fight every change, or you will run the risk of being labeled as a disgruntled employee.  Save your credibility for issues that directly affect your income.  No one wants to work with a complainer, even if they smile while doing it.

Managing a restaurant is not an easy job.  It requires constant weighing of the needs of three different groups of people, each of which has very different desires.  Dealing with issues from guests, pressure from above to increase profits, and complaints from staff can be overwhelming.  While they cannot control the guests or their bosses, they can choose not to listen to the complaints from their staff.  Only through navigating very gently around their stressors can you expect a positive outcome for you and your wallet.

This is an excerpt from Tips2:Tips For Improving Your Tips (c) 2011 by David Hayden All Rights Reserved