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I’ve coached many managers in transition who seem to hit one road block, or another, stalling their career. After several sessions the problem becomes clear. They compare their industry to others and have created the mistaken belief that Canada lacks the same advancement as the United States.

Perceptions can damage the best career. Our perceptions are based on what we believe, and how we read the statistics. They are not based on fact, or reality. Interested I queried candidates to learn how they created this perception. Inevitably, the answer comes from attitudes developed at the lower management levels.

This is not surprising as almost every management candidate had spent too long in the lower/mid management positions. When restaurant mangers, right up to Hotel managers and Directors, try to handle their careers independently they often make several mistakes.

1. Staying Too Long in a Job

It doesn’t matter where you work globally. Any manager in the hospitality industry should be able to reach the top of their career in 10 years. There is no reason to stay 5 years in a mid level management position. Take the job, achieve your successes, build relationships, and then move to the next level of your career.

2. Staying Local

Canada has several hotspots. You do not need to be anchored to Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal.  There are tourism hotspots and business hubs across Canada. Kitchener-Waterloo is the tip of the ‘intellectual triangle.’ Hamilton is the base of the Industrial hub.

There is a higher rate of business growth in Western Canada than most places in the world. And, where business grows the hotel and restaurant industries flourish.

Staying local can limit your opportunities. They also limit your view of the hospitality industry.

3. Continuing Education

If your career is stalled, then you may have tunnel vision when it comes to upgrading your education. I’ve chatted with several managers who claimed they have finished their education, there is nothing left to learn.

This may be true if you see hospitality courses as a tool you need to aquire to accomplish a job. This is a very narrow, and outdated, understanding of education. Today, hospitality managers need a wide range of skills from psychology and coaching, to software and computer networking. You do not need to be a master of each topic, but each one will expand your knowledgebase. The more you know, the more problems you can solve.

4. World Management Styles

If there is one problem Canada imposes on General Managers and Directors, it by forcing them to develop a fluid management style. Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. When people immigrate to Canada they bring an expectation of how managers should operate. Combine this with the new management styles emerging from hospitality management courses in colleges and universities and you have an employee base who all believe management should operate differently.

This doesn’t only filter down through the organization, it flows up. If your limited to an old ‘results based’ method, focused on detection of defects, and addressing crises as it happens then the managers above you, right up to the board of directors, and investors, will not see your successes when reading reports.

On the flip side, If your reports focus on delegation, the process, and teamwork, upper management may not be able to ‘grid’ your effectiveness, or measure the financial benefits of your successes.

5. Think Globally

The hospitality industry is global. Many loyal patrons, statistically 46% of customer base, have stayed in hotels around the world. They are not comparing your restaurant or hotel’s quality with local establishments. They are comparing you with establishments around the globe.

This can be difficult as many people born in Canada have a ‘small town’ mentality. This can stall a manager’s career. Even if you travel, you may not ‘see’ the competition through the eyes of your patrons. This brings us back to education. The more you learn, the clearer your vision will be. You will see things you missed before. This skill will come back home, to your own establishment, and enable you to implement and improve beyond what is acceptable in your local community.

When you reach this point in your personal development, job opportunities open up, because now you have something tangible to offer future employers.


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