For Tourism Business Leaders feeling Overstretched and Under-resourced

Having faced unprecedented challenges in recent times, the tourism industry is not out of the woods yet. Staff shortages and under-trained staff issues continue to impact tourism operations and have a significant impact on the customer experience.

Now labelled across the country as the #1 critical issue to be solved, tourism business owners and leaders have the unenviable problem of dealing with this staffing crisis on a daily basis.

From the start of a shift, or in the early hours of the morning, tourism business leaders find themselves multi-tasking and taking on many roles; often being very operational as opposed to more strategic in their leadership approach and primary business activities.

Delegation has turned to do-it-yourself, with either untrained staff in roles, or substantial role vacancies and no-one to delegate to.

Workloads are piling up on already full plates and increasingly leaders are feeling stressed out and overstretched.

Being able to step out of the day-to-day and work on the business planning, goal setting and strategic plans is nigh on impossible for many as the firefighting and normal day-to-day requirements are put first.

Whilst completely understandable “working on the business” has become the least prioritised activity, when it really needs to be highly prioritised.

Without the plan, goals and focused strategies for business growth, the ship is sailing without a rudder.

Many tourism business operators are ‘on the tools’ driving buses, answering phones, making beds and cooking meals.

In larger organisations, where layers of supervisors or managers used to be in place, now gaps are very evident and these layers of leadership now multi-task, doing multiple roles with various responsibilities, often with skills gaps.

This is both due untrained staff, no or minimal staff on duty, and the concerning widening staff to guest/passenger/customer ratios.

The ripple effect onto staff working for these overstretched and under-resourced tourism business leaders is dire.

The lack of clear direction, purpose and specific communication is replaced with short, sharp and often extreme micro-management or convoluted instructions that can change from one day to the next.

Time management IS ALL over the shop.

Meetings are booked and cancelled, tasks and instructions chop and change, depending both on the mood and current fire that leadership is dealing with and perceive as the highest priority.

Normally, that leads to the urgent and important problem-solving and firefighting, which perpetuates the constant cycle of stress and high-cortisol induced environments that lead to burnout and fatigue both for leaders and teams.

Now is the time for tourism leadership to be very careful not to fall into the classic overstretched and under-resourced trap and only don the firefighting suit.

Leaders must be very focused on communication and being clear, succinct and empathetic in delivering messages. Respectful and timely with decision-making, as opposed to rushed and sharp.

With both overstretched leaders and stressed-out staff impacting the customer experience, tourism teams must prioritise self-leadership skills on all fronts including stress and time management, self-care strategies, the ability to manage competing priorities and other core capabilities that provide the foundation for getting oneself out of survival mode.

The next stage is then prioritising connection with effective listening strategies, team meetings and building, inviting communication and conversation to give and receive feedback, problem-solving and ensure everyone understands decision-making aligning to a values and mission based approach that all members of the team can unite over, despite the ongoing challenges both individuals, teams and businesses face.

Today, stop and reflect on your key priorities and managing the urgency and importance.

We know there is never enough time in the day. The 24 hours we have is it.

Be aware when super stressed, we can be easily swayed towards our comfort zone activities that keep us hidden or not communicating well with staff and/or customers, or if we love connection, we can avoid doing the other behind the scenes business activities that are just as vital and not so visually obvious, because we choose to do the people activities rather than planning, budgeting and strategising.

You’ll know where you slide or default to under pressure, don’t you!




    P.S Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you develop and work on your business leadership capabilities:

    1. Grab a free copy of Smash Indecision and Overwhelm, 4 Steps for Better Business Leadership E-book
      It’s the road map to overcoming doubt and indecision, how to deal with “overwhelm” to improve your business leadership capabilities. —Click Here
    2. Join the Tourism Business Leader’s Facebook group and connect with like-minded leaders focused on building highly effective teams
      It’s our Facebook community where smart leaders get to learn more about creativity, leadership and performance for tourism business success. —Click Here
    3. Join our Tourism Pro-Team Program
      Helping tourism business leaders develop their skills to improve engagement, accountability and performance of the team. If you’d like to work with me so you can stop being reactive, have the difficult conversations and drive performance to get the results you want and know the business need then…message PRO to me here and I’ll get you all the details.
    4. Let’s get the Whole Team Together
      Would you like a different perspective and someone else at the front of the room or on zoom/teams to lead regular and consistent team building, accountability, and engaging learning experiences, that drive results and outcomes for individuals, teams, and the business? If you feel a little challenged with everything going on, maybe sounding like a cracked recorded saying things repeatedly, or actually not 100% how to motivate and inspire the team, given the current nature of business, it may be useful for us to chat. Message TEAM to me here… and tell me a little about the business, your team, and what you’d like to work on together.

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