Hospitality...In Space?!

leadership multigeneration team Mar 22, 2024

I love research, my own and reading others. You gain so much knowledge, understanding and, at times, crazy statistics and information that opens up new possibilities and a different way of thinking.


In a recent article written for Psychology Today, Marianna Pogosyan PHD interviewed organisational psychologist Suzanne Bell (lead of the Behavioural Health and Performance Lab at NASA), who shared her insights into the key traits astronauts need to develop to practice effective self-care in space. Dr. Bell identified adaptability, flexibility, self-regulation, a technical orientation, teamwork, self-care, and team-care as being the core competencies that consistently showed up in their analysis of the job and conversations with astronauts.


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Just as astronauts navigate a challenging environment with limited resources, hospitality professionals often operate within demanding and fast-paced settings where team members may face high stress levels and burnout. It's quite interesting to see how these same competencies can be translated to the hospitality sector.


Adaptability and Flexibility: Hospitality teams often encounter rapidly changing situations, from fluctuating guest demands to unforeseen challenges like equipment malfunctions or staff shortages. Adaptability and flexibility are essential for team members to adjust quickly to these changes, whether it's modifying service protocols, accommodating guest requests, or shifting work schedules.


Self-Regulation: The hospitality environment is fast-paced and high-stress, so self-regulation is vital for team members to manage their emotions, stay focused, and maintain professionalism even in challenging situations. This competency helps staff members maintain composure, make sound decisions, and provide consistent service quality.


Technical Orientation: A technical orientation is crucial in the hospitality sector, where team members must navigate various technologies and systems to deliver efficient service. This includes proficiency with point-of-sale systems, property management software, reservation platforms, and other tools essential for day-to-day operations.


Teamwork: When teams across different departments must work seamlessly together to deliver a cohesive guest experience, collaboration is essential. Effective teamwork involves clear communication, mutual support, and a shared commitment to achieving common goals. Whether it's housekeeping co-ordinating with the front desk, or the front and back of kitchen working together to deliver meals, strong teamwork enhances efficiency and guest satisfaction.

Leaders also need to appreciate the distinct values and work ethics across different generations, from Baby Boomers to Gen Z, fostering a culture of respect, open communication, and mutual learning. Bridging the gap between leadership and frontline staff is crucial, requiring transparent communication and inclusive decision-making to ensure everyone feels valued and heard. Encouraging mentorship and collaboration across different age groups can also lead to innovative solutions and improved teamwork, ultimately enhancing the service delivery and guest experience.


Self-Care: Hospitality roles can be highly demanding, making self-care essential for team members to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This includes practices such as prioritising adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise, as well as setting boundaries to prevent burnout. Hospitality leaders can support self-care initiatives by promoting work-life integration, offering wellness programs, and providing access to resources for stress management and personal development.


Team-Care: Team-care extends the concept of self-care to the collective well-being of the entire hospitality team. Leaders in the sector should prioritise creating a supportive and inclusive work environment where team members feel valued, respected, and empowered. This involves fostering a culture of appreciation, providing opportunities for professional growth, and actively addressing issues such as work-related stress or conflicts to ensure the overall health and cohesion of the team.

Implementing team-care in a multigenerational context also means creating a supportive environment that caters to the varying needs and preferences of all team members. This involves offering flexible scheduling, diverse training methods, and recognising individual contributions in ways that resonate with different generations.


The importance of prioritising the well-being of leaders and team members - in any environment - cannot be underestimated. By strengthening and nurturing these core competencies in their team, hospitality organisations can help enhance employee satisfaction, guest loyalty, and overall operational success within their venue.