Positive encouragement went a long way in boosting the spirits of Hazel Hagans and her staff at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with Hotel News Now for its ongoing Pandemic Reflections series, Hagans, general manager of The Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C., said that encouragement is an important facet of her leadership style, and she leads her team with a positive energy. She said managing through the COVID-19 pandemic tested those qualities.
“There were some times that the pandemic almost got the best of me, because it was just very taxing on all of us,” she said. “It’s really my team that kept me going.”
Hagans, who served as the general manager of the Le Meridien Arlington when the pandemic initially hit in March 2020 before joining The Madison in April 2022, said that since the beginning of the pandemic, she’s become better at prioritizing her employees’ time.
“I have a greater value of both people and time due to the pandemic,” she said. “I want to ensure that my associates are happy and that I cater to them when it comes to ensuring that we are compliant, that we are following our Marriott standards, following our corporate HEI Hotels & Resorts standards, and we check a lot of boxes through these efficient meetings.”
As someone who used to fight through sickness to work, Hagans said she had to change her ways to set a positive example for her employees.
“I want to ensure that I am in good health, good spirits when I’m with my team; that’s really important to me, both mentally and physically,” she said. “I always tell my own property leaders that if you’re not 100%, you can’t provide 100% while you’re at work.”
For our full conversation with The Madison Hotel’s Hazel Hagans, listen to the audio below.
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