I think choice is the most important tool we have as human beings. Unfortunately, there is a caveat. With the freedom and space inside our mind to make a choice, it can either be done impulsively or consciously.
As a manager of a hotel, I want to give my associates the freedom to choose for themselves. This freedom and space has the potential to build skills in problem solving, solidify independence, and instill a passion to work as they influence the building of their own career and, also, influence this hotel’s success through their personal and conscious efforts. However, my associates’ choices have cost the business a lot of guest dissatisfaction and refunds, which bring our current revenues, the future revenues, and the overall value of the hotel down. In order to keep the business up, I have struggled with finding ways to continue giving my associates this freedom.
I begin to find myself wanting to control them…give them a “do and don’t do” list. However, fear and rule-based constriction on another person’s life is irrational and truly just an illusion. They will still think the way they do and they will still do what they want to do when I am not around. They will also do what anyone behind bars will do…find a way out. This could be another job, another position in the hotel where I am not their manager, or (quite rarely) hurt me in a physical or mental way. They will also not respect, trust, or listen intently to me anymore either. Controlling a situation to manipulate the perfect goal is truly impossible and places a constant and ever-growing restriction and stress on the relationship that really does have the potential to be grown into a natural, warm, and trust-filled bond.
There is an incredible potential that we have as human beings to think through the majority of our choices. It takes a lot of energy, effort, and time to do this consciously though. Here is a quick start guide:
- We need to observe reality closely
- In fine, raw, and unbiased detail
- We need to look at each vantage point of the situation from all perspectives involved, all past experiences we have seen, and all the dots we can connect with reason
- We need to weigh the options we see in front of us
- When weighing our options, we need to have reflected and, now, have the understanding to know what our preferred direction is that our character needs to go in for the meaningful life we want.
- Observing in fine detail, listening intently, and asking questions are great ways to start seeing reality more clearly.
- I find this process difficult with all the confusing and sometimes intangible moving parts in life. Writing is a way for me to visualize the world on a concrete piece of paper, word document, or smartphone note.
- Reflecting on what type of character and values lead to a meaningful experience of life will be a great way to start seeing what direction each choice needs to be pointing in.
I need to work on making conscious choices in my own life. I need to work on creating the freedom and space within. This is the first step to “managing” my associates. From here, I will have the energy, passion, and information to help them humbly and with compassion and care for their struggles with impulsive choices. Once I begin to see reality more clearly and others give me the opportunity to help them, then I can begin breaking down options and choices with clarity, direction, and perspective. In high hopes, they will eventually want to go through this process too because of the incredible benefits. At this point, they will have a lot of practice with me that they will start doing it for themselves.
Did this solve the issue of the hotel’s success and the employees still having the freedom to make their own choices with the space they need?
In time…yes. All choices depend on the moment. I cannot say don’t control. I cannot say don’t give them freedom. Each experience tells a different story and each one has its own set of options to choose from. Which one will you choose? I hope it comes from a very thoughtful and focused place in reality.