Lesson Learned – The Importance of A Good Communication Skills : F&B Director Of Mandarin Oriental Jakarta

          Now the world become so global, movement of employees from one country to anoher is common.  A company become multinational where employee interact with different cultures.  Without understanding the culture it is prone to misunderstanding that in turn will become unproductive to the company as a whole.

Managing employees in diverse cultures are more challenging, especially in hospitality industry where  service quality become the most important factor.

Guest satisfaction become a goal and at the same time budget should be mantained to make the operation is profitable.

Here some lessons learned of Mark Wouter, the Director of F&B at the Mandarin Oriental as told to Tifa Asrianti of the Jakarta Post March 31, 2012. His previous assigments were General manager at Huka Lodge Hotel in New Zealand and managing Dolphin Island , Fiji (Small Luxury Hotel of The World Group)

I believe that these lessons are applicable to any industry we are working.  Sometime a new staff does not have enough explanation or briefing or they are not a single person available to whom he can ask a question. Or this new staff too afraid to ask for he afraid that will be considered as incapable and not qualified for the job.

  1. Patience is a virtue. When you have anew staff you have to brief and explain about new ways.You have to remind them every single day, for it takes time for a new things to be fully understood . Sometime you have to brief them over and over again. But if you want to achieve consistency, you have to do it.
  2. listen a lot

You need to listen a lot to people to know where they are coming from. By listening to them you will get a chance to know them, while letting them to know you. If you do not do this, you may preceived as arrogant. You do not want to have that kind of image.

3. Use humor to adapt to your surroundings

You will have better acceptance if you use a sense of humor. Try to break the ice and make peole smile. Imake  ajoke about myself, my hair even my tie. Joke will make people loosen up because people would not expect that coming from you

4. Adopt local mannerisms

Observe how people interact with each otherand try to mirror thie behavior. At my previous workplace I met a lot of Japanese guests and noticed that each guest had a different angle of bowing. There is a hierarchy in bowing. So I asked people and got a lot of knowledge about how to bow. The key is to always observe your surroundings

5. Speaking the same  language

In term of communication, the Western is tend to be more direct while Asian is not. But I see that people are more open to making decisions compare to the past. For example a person in  the  hotel communications division told me “Mark, if you don’t like it, you should say it, so I’d know”. I found it a bit surprising to hear that. It usually takes time to get toknow your people and their boundary. Once you settle on that, then you can set and achieve the common goal.

6. Consistent service

Whicever industry you are working for, you need to provide consistency in service. It takes a lot of determination, enthusiasm, knowledge and dedication because you are working with many people to provide that level of consistency.

From Mr. Wouter’s lessons learned above, we noticed that the world has changed, as we are more global and connected to each other, we as Asian are more direct compare to older generation. May be younger generation already has information about Western cultures  from the internet or literature then younger generation has more courage to ask for explanation and speak up their mind.

I could not agree more that a good communication skills needed in every industry we are working, but still there are some companies who prefer to have one way communication, no room for asking a question. May be the manager has not enough time to communicate with their staffs , to listen to their staffs patiently. In my humble opinion ,the line of communications should be opened any time any where, because sometime employee just needs an explanation or information, not necessarily different point of view is a rebel to the current rule and regulations. With enough explanation or information it will avoid unproductive rumor around the office which in turn will have an impact to the company performance.

For Manager be patient with staffs or a new staff  and give necessary information. Give a clear goal to achieve and monitor the progress, so that you can acheive the goal of the company. Have a nice working environment. We spend so much time during our time in our office. Make it a happy environment to work.



About Siti Parliah Santosa

I am Indonesian Living in Jakarta. Professional Accountant. My passion is empowering other people to achieve their best.
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