Han Fei Tzu and The Art of Hotel Management
Around 280 B.C. the royal family of Han gave birth to one of the greatest philosophers of China, Han Fei Tzu. He studied under Sun Tzu, and in addition, from other philosophers such as the Taoist Legalist philosopher, Shen Tao, and a Legalist philosopher, Shen Pu-hai. Though Han Fei Tzu did not invent Legalism, he furnished the ideas to its perfection. His theories went against those of Confucius’s and other philosophers, focusing more on the practical level. Though ill fated to die in the hand of his own student, Li Ssu, Han Fei Tzu’s theories prove successful in uniting China and establishing the first emperor of China.
Han Fei Tzu is a Legalist. His ideas of government establishment and function strove for those of extremes, of utmost reward and punishment. Han Fei Tzu focused on the art of distrust. His ideas parallel those of the modern world business, where the society is filled with darkness. Moreover, his establishment of the hierarchy of government equals those of modern corporations. The Chief Executive Officer oversees each and every order carried out, with specialists occupying different offices. Speaking of corporations, there is one industry that would draw Han Fei Tzu’s close attention. Not only does Han Fei Tzu’s theories apply in this particular business; furthermore, it actually functions in identical ways.
In the hotel industry, the vital component not only lies in skills, capitals, or services. Hotel management, for the General Manager, focuses on the tactics of administration. The society within the hotel stands upon tied complications between individuals. Each and every member and staff deal not only with their duties. They face the challenge of cooperation and service. Thus, almost everyone in the hotel industry faces the challenge of socialization, on the materialistic level. People do not approach without purpose. ‘Deals’ and ‘transactions’ lie beneath every interaction. These deals and transactions may be job promotion, favors, etc. When there is no use for any additional help, people depart in their own ways. As one general manager describes, “I’d rather have a true enemy then all these false friends…”
Putting Han Fei Tzu and the art of hotel management together provides the perfect combo. Han Fei Tzu’s “The Way of the Ruler” should work in harmony with the way of a General Manager. On the level of executive administration, Han Fei Tzu said, “The ruler [GM] must not reveal his desires; for if he reveals his desires his ministers will put on the mask that pleases him. He must not reveal his will; for if he does so his ministers will show a different face.” (P16) A GM, like the ruler, must not reveal his true self to his employees. By revealing the GM’s true self, he is also showing his weakness. Thus, his employees will be acknowledged of where to get at the GM. By this, the GM loses his control and power over his staff members, disabling the superiority over them. The skill to perfect the coverage of identity is trust. “It is hazardous,” Han Fei Tzu warns, “for the ruler of men to trust others, for he who trust others will be controlled by others.” (P84) When trusting others, one reveals his secrets to them. In turn, one day these secrets may backfire and injure the position of the GM. Thus, making sure to ignore trusting others is a fundamental for GMs to stay in control. In connection to trust is the way of assignment. How can the GM appoint positions if he ceases to trust anyone? This is done through the means of observation. Han Fei Tzu recommended, “if one were only to observe a man’s features and dress and listen to his speech, then even Confucius could not be certain what kind of person he is. But if one tries him out in government office and examines his achievements, then even a man of mediocre judgement can tell whether he is stupid or wise.” (P124) The result of the work is observed to judge a person. Intuitions and visuals are...
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