During one of my discussions with the young restaurant steward supervisor, he asked one question on how to motivate staff that are feeling demotivated. I asked him to further explain the situation in order to answer his question. Rudy, the person I am talking about, happens to be a supervisor in the Irish Restaurant. That day, his manager was involved in a heated argument with the owner of the restaurant. As the situation escalated, the lady owner unfortunately said something terribly hurtful for the manager. Spontaneously the manager declared that she will quit, as she could not accept the treatment which, according to her, hurt her pride as a professional.
After the incident, the entire staff, all of which had heard about the resignation of the Manager that they love to work with began to feel demotivated and some even expressed their desire to resign as well. Rudy – as being the person in the middle – does not want this to happen, because they have built a strong teamwork and are always able to resolve problem together. Rudy wants to do something to make the team solid again, but how?
I explored further the background of working relationship between the staff members and the owner, and it was found that there are some practices that are not favorable for the staff, but since there is no regular meeting to discuss these matters, or company SOP, then the aspirations from the staff cannot be conveyed to the owner.
In order to address Rudy’s predicament, I first asked Rudy to tell the team to understand that in every company there is always one person that behaves unusual. So where ever we go, we will possibly face the same situation. Secondly, it is important that they understand that the teamwork that they have built for almost a year will vanish in vain, so Rudy need to ask them to be patient because he will try to talk to the owner. Fortunately, Rudy managed to obtain the opportunity to discuss how the staff feels about certain issues openly but in a polite manner and the owner finally listened to what need to be done. He then called everyone, and conducted a general meeting where all of the staff members can express what they think about the current operations of the restaurant, and take note. The meeting happened twice, and most staff was given the chance to speak.
The owner also conducted a personal meeting with the restaurant manager, and after some long discussions, the manager decided to stay and not resign. The owner also changed her behavior and the way she approaches the staffs, so the working atmosphere is now very conducive. At the end, everybody is happy, some improvement in the working process has been made, and this was made possible because Rudy took the initiative to bridge the communication.
I told Rudy that it is very good that he took the initiative to speak directly with the owner in this critical situation, because when a group of people are not comfortable with the working condition, the productivity will be impacted, and so thus affect the profit negatively.