On The Fast Track – Practical Professional Development for Hospitality Managers

Over the years, I have been hounded by tribemates looking for a raise in pay (not unwarranted, but alas, still pervasive). If you want a pay increase to materialize at a faster pace, you must do some homework in addition to your work duties. What follows is the hospitality- manager response I have given to those on the money hunt: Whenever you are being evaluated for hiring, a promotion, or a raise, start with the most significant accomplishments you can cite from your recent professional history. It is both the wide and the narrow definitions of success that will define your evaluation.

What was your specific involvement in achieving strong results, forwarding programs, changing the business climate, and so forth? What were the scope and the scale of your responsibilities? What was your total staff size, including direct reports? Did you have P&L responsibility? What was the size of your budget? Be prepared to quickly and crisply articulate your business results, not just your activities.

Itemizing a track record of your successes is the easiest way for the powers that be to evaluate and elevate you to greater responsibility, and hello, “mad stacks, jack!” Regardless of how well you have performed, seeking more money in the same role might provide incremental increases, but eventually you will slam into a hard salary ceiling. Most organizations usually calculate compensation packages based on titles or responsibility levels and pay grades. Rarely can you break beyond the pre-set ranges.

You must work, plan, dream, and scheme your way to bigger jobs (of course, only through honest and ethical schemes). This is the most direct route to pay raises significant enough to really upgrade your lifestyle. The simple fact is that all persons of the same “leadager” level or title are in a competition for the next opportunity, whether they buy into it, act above it, care about it or not. (Everybody sing: “It’s a dog-eat-dog world…”)

Assuming your performance earns you the right to get your hat thrown into the ring for a promotion, the next assessment hurdles you face are those of pace and progression. Never underestimate the positive effect on your wallet the aggressive pursuit of advancement brings. The death-knell for anyone seeking advancement is having the same level of experience without a promotion for five-plus years. You will then be deemed as not promotable, a poor career manager, and/or lacking drive or talent. Hiring/promoting managers will be wary of you. (“If you can’t do it for yourself, how will you do it for us?”)

If you were to ask a group of assistant managers to cite the major hurdles standing between them and more money, you would quite likely hear the following typical excuses (always someone else’s fault):

  • “The company says there aren’t any opportunities right now.”
  • “They say I don’t have the enough experience.”
  • “My supervisor hassles me all the time.”
  • “I’ve got a bad team; they’re holding me back.”
  • “I didn’t go far enough in skool.”
  • They like Joe/Jill better than me

If you were to ask a collection of team leaders what major issues they consistently assess when deciding to promote someone, you might hear the following:

  • Poor transition from an hourly to salary mentality
  • Questionable integrity
  • Inconsistent follow-up/follow-through on projects
  • Denial of accountability
  • Lacking initiative
  • Poor judgment
  • Weak interpersonal skills
  • Poor financial acumen/performance.

Ah, here’s a light-bulb moment for you: All of it is deemed to be within your control.

The perspective gap between these two groups is real, and it exists in some form or another in every workplace. The common complaint of my peers who provide the advancement opportunity is not, “Why is this C player acting like a C player?” but rather, “Why is this potential A player content to settle for B or C level performance? What is wrong with him/her?”

In short, if you would like to go fast and far, start off by packing the right bags with the right stuff!

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