Exploring Leadership and Motivation in the Hospitality Industry

Whether you are starting your career or furthering your current one, here is some advice from our Managing Director, John Creighton, who has over 30 years’ experience in the Hospitality Industry. Originally from Cape Town, John has worked his way up the Hospitality Management ladder, has travelled extensively abroad, which has allowed him to gain deep  insight into the Hospitality Industry. During John’s career he has added many feathers to his cap, which include positions of General Manager, Regional General Manager, Managing Director, Restaurant Owner, Sales & Marketing Director, to name a few. 

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“I have come across quite a number of motto’s that I could have applied to the various aspects in my life, but the one simple philosophy that I have applied to my work life, is to do your best at all times. Remember to keep pushing yourself and always look to learn from & improve on what you do. Further to that, persistence and perseverance are the two key lessons that I have learnt during my career. Growing up, I wasn’t an A grade student, far from it, but if you want to achieve anything in life, it’s always about persistence, perseverance and never giving up until you achieve the goal that you have set for yourself,” says John.



 Every now and then as with all entrepreneurs, marketing specialists and even students, we like to read and watch inspirational videos from influential and prominent leaders. “We have our familiar  traditional leaders such as the iconic Nelson Mandela and Richard Branson, but I personally like to follow non-traditional key Business commentators such as:

  • Grant Cardone
  • Gary V (look past the language for the great motivation, knowledge and insight) 
  • Simon Sinek
  • Tony Robbins
  • Tim Ferris
  • Seth Godin

And interviews/podcasts by:

  • Tom Bilyeu (Impact Theory)
  • Ed Mylett
  • Jocko Willink

To name a few.

The reason I watch their content 3 or 4 times a week is because they are inspirational and philosophical speakers, who have an entrepreneurial edge. As much as we have access to thousands of motivational videos on YouTube, you still need to be able to motivate yourself. I believe that when you are passionate about something, self-motivation should come quite easily. During my days as the owner of the Capri Italian Restaurant in Cape Town, I was working 7 days a week without a day off, waking up before 6am and going to bed at 1-2am, every day, for years. I knew I needed a day off, but because I was so passionate about what I was doing, and passionate about delivering the best quality food & service to our Guests, I just continued to push through and I didn’t feel the exhaustion,” says John.

 “The narrative out there, is that you must ‘follow your passion’. I don’t necessarily believe that because as a youngster, I didn’t really know what I wasn’t passionate about. There might be some exceptions, but generally I don’t think school leavers have discovered or understand what their ‘passion’ is. The more one deeply thinks about what their passion is, this more confusing it becomes and this doesn’t necessarily apply to young school leavers, it applies to adults too. I think it’s about following your interest first, and then your interest, slowly over time, could become your passion. Everything starts with an interest and then ends with a passion. You need to follow your interest,  get educated in it and take a deep dive into it by spending years getting highly skilled at it. When you’re able to take your trained skills & well-earned experience and start seeing people around you being positively influenced by it and benefiting from it, then that’s when passion is realised. I am passionate about sitting on the beach and watching the waves crashing onto the shore, but unfortunately I haven’t figured out how I can earn money whilst doing that,” chuckles John.

 Fuel Your Passion“How I got into the Hospitality industry is because I had an interest in people. After years of being in the Hospitality industry, working long hours, working in the kitchen, meeting people from all over the world, travelling extensively, managing people up & down reporting lines, being exposed to many varied experiences the Hospitality industry affords a person who’s in it, I finally understand that one of my passions is people. The Hospitality industry was the place I turned my interest into a passion and into a successful career. The rest, as they say, is history,” says John. 


If you are looking to further your interest and your career by growing your knowledge & skills, enrol with International Hotel School Online for the best online Leadership and Management courses. Email us at online@hotelschool.co.za or phone 0861 44 33 00 to chat to a consultant today. If you would like to know more about our Short Courses,  Specialisations, Higher Certificates or Diplomas then go to www.hotelschool.co