Frank Mitchell Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2019, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell


Now that you have completed your demonstrations, reset everything to zero so that the participants can practice the task from the very start. Set the scene by telling them where and when they might be doing the task, so that they can practice with the right mindset. “Imagine we are having twelve guests for dinner at 8:00 pm this evening. The Head Butler has asked you to set the table according to this menu. It is now 3:00 pm.”

Adults learn best by doing. Remember that practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Stop them when they make a mistake. Correct them, explaining why the point is important and then let them start again.

If you see signs of hesitation, encourage them to continue before jumping in to help. Some students lack confidence, others are lazy. If you keep guiding them at each turn they will never learn to do it for themselves. Only help when they get stuck, unless they are going to damage something, or hurt themselves.

After each practice, give them feedback and then reset to zero. Let them practice until they are confident and can complete the task to the required standards to pass their assessment.

Next month we will look at the ‘E’ of POPPER which stands for ‘Explore’.

Frank Mitchell’s background is as a private-service butler who then became a head butler at a hotel, and then a butler trainer with the Institute. While he continues to train butlers for the Institute occasionally, his focus for the last decade has been on training hotel, resort, and palace staff in general. He has written several well-received columns for the MBJ over the years and can be contacted via the Institute. 

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.