This guest post is by Deb Spicer, founder of Quantum Level Success and a 25-year senior executive and consultant. Spicer is the author of “POWER TEAMS: The New SQUARE ROOT MODEL™ That Changes Everything!”

A restaurant is one of the best examples of a successful operation in which teams must work together. The kitchen staff, waiters, busboys and the maître d’ must be in sync to ensure food is served on time, the kitchen doesn’t become too backed up and everything runs smoothly to give customers the best dining experience possible. A lack of teamwork quickly leads to the end of any dining establishment.

When team members agree to be reliable to one another and are predictable in how they act when working together, trust is built, and trust is fundamental in building a powerful, successful team. As leaders, we know that creating and nurturing effective team dynamics also requires building trust between the team and leaders. Building trust is necessary because each employee, while focused on his or her specific task, ultimately affects the overall performance of the restaurant.

Here are a few tips to building a power team in your restaurant.

  • Conduct listening round-robins. In round-robin sharing of ideas in a group, each participant has 30 seconds to discuss three top priorities for that week. It’s a technique to ensure that all members have a voice and that those who might otherwise monopolize a conversation do not limit anyone else’s opportunity to participate. This promotes accountability and clarity.
  • Foster open communication. Without this crucial component, your team is destined to fail. Many corporations hold off-site outings aimed at improving communication among team members. This is one item to keep working on to build a power team in your restaurant.
  • Adopt a “No one succeeds until everyone succeeds” culture.
  • Summarize progress. After a successful service, sit down and analyze how it all came together, and take what you find and apply it going forward.
  • Give employees a reason to care. The key to this one is to get your team engaged by finding out what matters to the members. This can also be supported through a bonus mechanism.
  • Deliver more than lip service. In this challenge, it is important to determine whether the behavior is individualized. If and when staff members operate in lip-service mode, teamwork is destroyed. Sometimes, all it takes is a discussion, bringing this behavior to light for the employee. But if after direct conversations about the ramifications of not performing takes place and makes no difference, the leader has to make a choice.
  • Be a hall-of-fame team leader. A strong team leader, in this case the restaurant owner or manager, can make all of the difference. The person needs to be the glue that holds the team together. The person should function as a connector, overseeing every aspect of service and intervening before things get out of hand.

Whether your restaurant is nationally franchised, regionally operated or locally owned, reaching a level of team excellence involves leaders’ ability to cultivate a culture that is conductive to true team functioning. When everyone on the team is accountable, the team’s effectiveness rises above the sum of its parts. Each team member doesn’t do only what is asked but also what is needed.

Image credit: Deb Spicer

Share your recipe for teamwork in the comments.

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