Rely on Your Team to Identify a Toxic Restaurant Manager

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Rely on Your Team to Identify a Toxic Restaurant Manager

You might have heard the saying, "People don't quit jobs; they quit managers." This is particularly true in our fast-paced, high-stress industry. A toxic manager can create a negative atmosphere and fail to lead by example, significantly affecting morale and productivity.

In this episode of my restaurant podcast, The Restaurant Prosperity Formula, I am breaking down undeniable impact toxic managers have on your restaurant. I also outline how you can create and maintain a positive work environment, specifically by creating a positive culture in your restaurant. I will also cover how to build up your team’s confidence in that culture so they help you keep toxic managers out of your restaurant.

Imagine having a manager who constantly asserts their authority, bullies staff into compliance, and offloads their tasks onto others under the guise of delegation. This kind of behavior doesn't just lower morale—it destroys it. Respect for the manager drops, leading to disengagement and high staff turnover, which in turn pressures the remaining team members. This creates a vicious cycle that can ultimately harm your restaurant's reputation and hinder growth.

Identifying a toxic manager

To identify a toxic manager, listen to your staff. Pay attention to recurring complaints about a particular manager and conduct exit interviews to gather insights into managerial issues. High turnover rates can also be a red flag.

Listening to your staff goes beyond nodding your head when they vent. Create an environment where they feel safe to express their concerns. For example, in my early career at Coyote Springs Brewing Company Cafe, we had two managers who treated our team poorly, driving employees away. Recognizing such patterns is crucial.

Addressing the issue

If you discover you have a toxic manager, have a direct conversation. Sit down with the manager in question and discuss specific behaviors that have been reported. Use concrete examples and explain how these behaviors impact the team and the restaurant. Transparency is key; let them know their behavior is a significant problem that needs immediate attention.

Counseling the manager involves outlining acceptable behaviors and clearly defining what is unacceptable. Document these expectations to avoid ambiguity. Provide management training or workshops to help them develop better leadership skills. Sometimes, toxic behavior stems from a lack of knowledge or confidence.

Regular follow-ups with both the manager and team members are essential to assess any changes in behavior and ensure accountability. Continuously solicit feedback from the staff to gauge improvement.

Making tough decisions

If the manager does not improve despite your efforts, it may be necessary to terminate their employment. Keeping a toxic manager can cause more harm than letting them go. Consider the long-term impact on your restaurant's reputation and growth.

Fostering a positive work environment

Creating a positive work environment starts with you. Lead by example and set the tone for your team. Encourage teamwork, respect, and positive reinforcement. Celebrate successes and recognize staff contributions.

Implement recognition programs, such as employee of the month or shoutouts during team meetings, to make employees feel valued and motivated. Organize team-building activities and offer growth and development opportunities, such as training sessions and workshops.

Maintain open communication by encouraging feedback and addressing conflicts promptly and fairly. Promote diversity and inclusion, ensuring all employees feel respected and valued. Support employee wellness by offering programs that support physical and mental health and encourage a healthy work-life balance.

A great restaurant isn't just about the food—it's about the people. Ensuring a healthy, positive work environment is key to achieving prosperity and freedom from your business. By identifying toxic managers early, communicating clearly, setting expectations, monitoring progress, and promoting a positive culture, you can create a thriving restaurant environment where everyone prospers.

Click the podcast player above to listen in, or you can watch the video on YouTubeclick here to download the latest episode

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