The chief executive officer and chairman of Marriott’s, J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr, recently celebrated his 80th birthday on March 25.

Having grown up within the company his father J. Willard Marriott founded, he has helped the Marriott name grow from one hotel in 1957 to thousands of properties worldwide with billions in annual revenue and a brand name business people (and families) know and trust.

Often asked how the Marriott Company found the people who work for it, Bill’s philosophy and comments have remained the same: “We don’t hire people and ask them to be nice, we hire nice people.”

In essence, Bill Marriott recognised early that good training will not help employees become good performers if their attitude or philosophy is wrong. By hiring nice people and teaching them the Marriott way, the Marriott Corporation has expanded across all 50 of the United States and into 73 countries in just 55 years.

Attraction factor

With Singapore’s most recent employment rate reported at 98 per cent, it is imperative that companies, managers and leaders have qualities and jobs potential employees will find attractive.

Research by untold human resource managers and recruitment firms have concluded that when good people leave companies, they normally quit because their supervisor or boss had poor people skills.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, there are different pieces that fit together to create a great whole. If employees are treated with respect and trained correctly, the team will, over time, perform well.

Hire and train — don’t blame

Interviewing and hiring can be an intense part of any manager or leader’s role. If a human resource department is involved, this can save time in the initial hiring process depending on the firm’s hiring policy, procedures and protocols.

Once a candidate has cleared the initial recruitment phase, training to learn the systems, role, procedures and objectives of the company begins. The role of the manager or leader is to facilitate this process.

This phase is what separates the great manager or leader from the average. While many companies recruit and hire for technical skills, the brilliant manager or leader looks for the personal quality and ethos of the individual to see if he will be able to perform in his role but at the same time fit into the team or department strategy in the long term.

Motivate and lead

When managers and leaders understand their people’s internal drivers to achieve, it is much easier to manage and direct them to perform well in their roles within a team or company structure.

The personal qualities and behaviour of a new person can have a strong impact on the performance of others. Characteristics such as integrity, punctuality, teamwork, open-mindedness, patience and consideration are very different from the technical skills of a role.

To train their people to be effective and productive team members, the skills listed above are minimums the manager or leader must also demonstrate in his role with others.

Grow or change

The last piece of building a dynamic team is often the weak link for inexperienced managers or leaders. This area can undermine the first three areas because some employees are unable to adapt to the company philosophy or systems that can help make a successful team or department.

A sound leader or manager has a CSI mindset — he can easily recognise if an individual is growing into his role or will need a change to perhaps a different department if he is valuable and worth retaining.

As the Marriott company has shown over many decades, if an employee’s basic DNA has qualities the company looking for, that is, “nice to work with”, he can be part of the foundation that builds a multi-billion-dollar industry leader.