Skip to main content
Blog Article

Daring To Be Great: Leadership Insights Charlotte Shahlaei

Dec 22, 2021

Charlotte Shahlaei Director of Operations, The Higgins Hotel New Orleans, Curio Collection by Hilton

What do you love most about being a leader?

I enjoy the self-discovery aspect of leadership. We all have leadership traits within us and we depend on them for various reasons. The ability to learn more about yourself given your environment through everyday leadership exposure is a huge plus in the ability to achieve the desired goals and allows for successful relationships.

What is your management philosophy?

Listening is key; and that is not always so easy. Allow for error and a redo opportunity. Peers are not seeking an information download, they want to actively partake in the decision making and outcome. Make the effort to follow up face to face and encourage open dialogues even amongst conflicting viewpoints. Remember to celebrate the wins.

What inspires you to be great?

I believe we easily depend on the metrics and results to inspire us but that is only a part of it. I feel most inspired when I get up and involve myself personally to any given situation and can make it better. The essence of hospitality and the enjoyment I receive from helping someone (external or internal) is why I signed up in the first place.

How do you inspire team members? (Give us examples!)

Lots of chocolate! I have a community bowl in my office and we start there. Team members across the spectrum invest in us each day and are grateful when I take just a few moments to learn a personal item about them. Once we have created a common bond, I am often surprised to learn what truly inspires someone to show up for work each day and my role in supporting them. I share that within our leadership team and the art of inspiration becomes organic.

What advice/tips resonated with you most from mentors throughout your career?

In my very early years with Hilton our GM spoke to me and offered some advice saying, “Charlotte: no one should be on a scholarship, if you do for one, you do for all.” It can be tempting to make exceptions to any rule, but that one in particular resonated and has not steered me wrong yet.

What is the most pressing challenge you’ve faced and resolved in the past year?

Keeping the mojo alive during this past year after an amazing and robust grand opening brought on a unique set of concerns and obstacles. Feeling responsible amongst my peers to the entire Higgins community to maintain a positive and upbeat culture, save jobs, creating new channels of revenue, eliminating the extra expenses, meeting expectations… can be heavy. The magic resides in who on the journey is besides you – having grace under fire – and being honest and cautious in promising deliverance.

Anything else you want to add?

Incorporate elements of fun any which way you can and like the individuals you work with!