Continuing Education Main Headline

IFT hosts executive programme on leadership and motivation

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

IFT and Cornell University, in the United States, jointly held on 3 and 4 July an executive development programme about leadership and motivation. A total of 26 executives from either local hotels or integrated resorts – and 2 members of the IFT teaching staff – took part.

The purpose of the programme was to address the real-world complexities faced by front-line leaders and their teams in Macao’s hospitality industry. The scheme focused on helping participants gain insights into different leadership styles, and develop skills that promote effective teamwork.

Dr. Michael Oshins, a member of the executive education faculty at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management, led the executive development programme. He has provided consultancy services for hotel chains such as Holiday Inn, Sheraton and Westin. His operational experience includes work at the iconic Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City in the United States.

Dr. Oshins says he was not looking to be “the sage on a stage”; instead his aim for the programme was to fuel exchange of ideas between participants. “They can learn more from each other than they do from me,” the hospitality expert stresses.

The teaching method pleased Mr. Jovi Ng. “We had a very good discussion and a chance to share our experience,” says the Assistant Director of Rooms at integrated resort MGM Cotai. The programme “taught us different kinds of leadership skills and different ways to motivate people,” he adds.

The goal of the programme, Dr. Oshins explains, was to drive industry professionals to “embrace ideas on how to become a better leader and how to motivate themselves and the people that work with them”. That involves “identifying their own values and changing their leadership skill set to meet the needs of the employees,” he says.

“I’ve learned that we need to assess our staff, based on their competence and their commitment, in order to have a proper approach to leading them,” says Ms. Eva Ngan. The Assistant Director of Finance at Four Seasons Hotel Macao adds leadership and motivation are key tools to address what is considered a major challenge for local companies: high employee turnover.

The best way, says Dr. Oshins, to fight against the allure of “the next, shiny hotel that opens up” is to “create an environment where people feel encouraged and empowered to stay and learn more about themselves”. The U.S. scholar has no doubt that “money is not a motivator; other things are: autonomy, mastery and purpose”.

Participant Ms. Ngan agrees that “employees want to be recognised, they want achievements”. “If you have a good environment, people like to work with you,” she adds.

MGM Cotai’s Mr. Ng goes further. “People choose to work with people they feel connected to rather than work for a company,” he says. “If a company has great people and cares for their employees, they [the employees] will stay,” he explains. Mr. Ng however admits such concepts are often “easy to formulate but very difficult to apply in real life”.

Mário da Silva Leal, Director of Restaurant and Bars at Mandarin Oriental Macau, says the secret might be to “not make things too complicated; take things easier”. He adds: “Leadership and motivation, at the end of the day, that’s what drives a company forward.”

President’s Corner

A special place

IFTM’s unique positioning means students have access to a deep pool of exclusive opportunities, including exchange and internship programmes outside Macao, allowing them to be exposed to new ideas, and to broaden their horizons. Read More