How young leaders lead

Management techniques oftentimes are learned and are not innate. It can be especially dicey when you are young and put in a position of responsibility over those older than you are. For Hotel Management’s 2015 Thirty Under 30 class, this scenario frequently presents itself. But as you’ll read from their experiences, they have been able to acquit themselves with aplomb.


David Arraya, hotel manager, Swire Hotels: “In order to be successful as the leader of a team, I leverage [employees’] strengths and weaknesses to help them [direct] their efforts. The best piece of advice someone ever gave me was that every employee is a job in itself. Each individual is motivated in different ways. Another thing I realized throughout my years of leading people of all ages—particularly those older than me—is that I do not know everything and that I must rely on my people to be successful. By trusting and empowering my team, I began to be trusted back, and at that point, the bond between our team grew.”


Chris Rorrer, GM, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Moscow, Idaho: “I have always found it is harder for me, being a younger person, managing older employees. There will always be issue there. As I get older, I am sure I will have issues if a younger person manages me. The perception will always be that a younger person does not know as much as an older person. However, I have always found that if you work as hard as you did to get to that managing position, you will earn respect.”

Virtual Event

Hotel Optimization Part 3 | January 27, 2021

With 2020 behind us and widespread vaccine distribution on the horizon, the second half of the new year is looking up, but for Q1 (and most likely well into Q2) we’re very much still in the thick of what has undeniably been the lowest point of the pandemic. What can you be doing now to power through and set yourself up for a prosperous 2021 and beyond? Join us at Part 3 of Hotel Optimization – A Virtual Event on January 27 from 10am – 1:05pm ET for expert panels focused on getting you back to profitability.


Anthony Langan, GM, Holiday Inn Express, Schererville, Ind.: “I was 21 in my first management role and had several associates working for me at the time who had been working at that hotel, in their same roles, for longer than I had been alive! I had to earn their respect and, more importantly, their trust before I could truly lead them. I did it by getting in the trenches with them right off the bat. I showed them that I was willing to jump in and work alongside them, help them out and was willing to do all of the things that I was asking them to do. You have to show that you’re a part of the team and willing to do whatever it takes to help them be successful and take care of the guests.”


Caroline Michaud, PR director, Preferred Hotel Group: “The best way to avoid pitfalls of managing team members is to disregard thinking about age and instead focus on what expertise each person brings to the table, identify how well they are achieving their goals and ask lots of questions. Being a great manager is more about the results you are able to drive. If you lead by example, and are hands-on with some of the same responsibilities that are required of direct reports, you will show that you are committed to understanding their role and what day-to-day challenges they face.”

Using emotional intelligence

Giovanni Valentini, hotel manager of the Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall, is a proponent of using emotional intelligence, or the ability to identify, use, understand and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. “I use E.I. on a daily basis when interacting with people to make sure we get the best results from every interaction,” Valentini said. “Most of the challenges are connected to age versus experience. E.I. works to understand such things as speech and facial expressions.  It’s very effective.”



Thirty Under 30: Hotel Management Young Professional, or HMYP, is designed specifically for hospitality professionals within the first decade of their careers. And during the year, we go back to our Thirty Under 30 class for their takes on what's going on in hospitality.