Eight Traits That Make a Successful Leader in Hospitality

Instruction from our parents, interactions with coworkers, and experiences at previous jobs and from life, in general, are all factors that can play a part in the type of leader a person will become. We have all been told at some point to “learn from our mistakes” to become a better version of ourselves, whether that is from a personal or professional standpoint. Sometimes, knowing what not to do can be just as valuable to your growth as knowing the right moves to make.

Certain qualities and characteristics are necessary when leading a group of people to ensure that the work produced meets the standards of your company or supervisor expects. The most successful leaders in the workforce today have most likely stumbled along the way or doubted themselves at times; the difference between making it to the top is that they have all learned from those downfalls and missteps.

Curated from years of experience, the following traits are important to exercise when in a leadership position.

1. Social and emotional intelligence
A tough trait to learn or teach, social and emotional intelligence is vital to effectively interacting with and managing a diverse group of people. Remember that everyone handles situations differently, and their reactions to those situations will also differ.


2. Integrity
Doing the right thing even when people are not watching is non-negotiable. Being a trustworthy person and modeling this behavior in different aspects of the workplace will guarantee healthy relationships across the board.

3. Communication
Be clear, concise, and articulate with a positive tone. Practicing public speaking and delivering a message as simply as possible will ultimately reduce confusion and increase efficiency.

4. Positive Attitude
People do not like and will not follow a sourpuss. Maintaining a positive attitude is truly infectious, so keep in mind that you will set the tone for the rest of the group with the attitude you exude.

5. Delegation
Providing others with the opportunity to learn and grow will make your colleagues respect you. People want to feel that they are being encouraged to excel and challenge themselves, as they have personal goals of their own.

6. Empathy
Invest in others and their lives to show you care about them outside of the office. Do not hold grudges and practice forgiveness.

7. Flexibility
Remember: life is hard and there will be bumps along the way. Give people the freedom and comfort to ride the waves, as it builds loyalty in return.

8. Humor
Laugh at yourself! Even as a leader, it is okay to have fun with your colleagues and show your “human” side every now and then.

Understand that becoming a leader who people respect and follow will take time. However, learning from the past and treating others with respect along the way will create a healthy environment for all. Honor what is naturally great about you, laugh occasionally, and love what you do.


Debra PunkeAbout the Author
Debra Punke joined Concord Hospitality in 1994 and now serves as its senior vice president of human capital, where she oversees the company’s culture and organizational growth strategies as well as champions human resource initiatives in the areas of technology, talent acquisition, training, benefits, risk, and compliance. Punke has an extensive and successful background in operations, including serving as vice president of operations from 2002-2007. During that time, she opened 17 hotels, including leading the charge of Concord’s entry into Canada by opening five hotels in seven weeks. 

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