Washington Hospitality Association President & CEO Anthony Anton sat down with Frank Welton, former regional vice president of Hilton International and a recent recipient of the Burtenshaw Lifetime Achievement Award. The two discussed his four principles of leadership in a previous NW Hospitality Leadership Podcast. In this episode, they talk about leading a new generation of teams and their favorite leadership books.
Anthony mentioned Frank’s ability to mentor. He was at a baseball game last year and someone approached Anthony about Frank and told a story about how he was such a positive influence on her career.
“It really speaks to your ability to make a difference in your teams’ lives,” Anthony said. “Why do you believe you were such an effective mentor to so many of these people who remember you this way?”
Frank said people recognize that he had broad experiences during his career. He said as an officer of the company he went through five different acquisitions and mergers.
Because of those changes, he was exposed to many different CEOs, leaders and experiences.
“I knew what was going to happen next because I had lived through so much of it,” he said. “I could help the people understand what was coming next. How to help them work through what was coming next.”
What he found as a leader is that he was constantly dealing with new managers and directors. He said helping them through the process of changes became part of who he was.
Anthony wondered if he was considered a great mentor because you focused on that as something he was trying to accomplish, or if his four principles of leadership he laid out led to his success in mentoring.
Frank thinks it was the principles because relying on others is key.
“You have to create an environment where it’s collaborative and people have to work together,” Frank said. “It’s all about caring about individuals.”
If Frank could give one piece of advice to a new general manager, it would be to develop a rapport with their team. Every time a new general manager comes in the employees are understandably nervous about a new boss.
Ask your team what their plans are for the job, ask about their families, get a sense of who they are to develop trust with them. Show them that you care about them as employees.
He recommends evolving and adapting your management style when dealing with millennials and members of Generation Z.
“Millennials are different than what we are used to. In the old days, you could kind of tell somebody do these things and you’re going to get ahead and get promoted,” Frank said. “You have to find ways to keep them motivated and satisfied with their job or you would lose them.”
He told the story of an administrative assistant in his office, and he thought he would make her a promotions coordinator for food and beverage.
“She looked at me and said, ‘Well, Frank, that’s not in my plan.” She laid out her plans for her career and he pivoted to see what they could do to make that happen.
Frank recommended the following books about leadership:
- Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
- The books of Ken Blanchard
- “The First 90 Days,” by Michael D. Watkins
- “Zapp: The Lightening of Empowerment,” by William C. Byham
- “Under the Hood,” by Stan Slap