The slots manager isn’t an alien! He can fix your slots, build your team, influence your customers and increase your revenues. Isn’t it time you got to know him?
published in Infinity Magazine – December 2020
Slot managers all over the world are misunderstood, undervalued, heckled, tormented, and often frowned upon when observed by others for their apparent alien like behavior while walking the casino floor with a sense of purpose and a laptop. In many casinos GM’s are confused by slots managers and often go to great lengths to avoid them as if they were debt collectors or angry customers. Some say this is because they dread feeling not in total control of a conversation and so prefer to stay inside their comfort bubble where VIP customers, baccarat limits and the “someone is stealing” theory are the topics they feel comfortable discussing. Many GM’s see the slots manger as subservient, a mere slot tech guy with an inflated title who can be summoned 24/7 to fix their electronic pencil sharpener or teach them how to switch on their computer! Clearly a deeper understanding and awareness of what a slots manager actually does and what makes them successful can and will go a long way to stamping out misconceptions, strengthening the executive team and offering aspiring managers a valuable insight into the mind of that “slot tech guy with the inflated title.”
It is a well-known fact that a lack of knowledge about the core functions and responsibilities of other departments and their respective staff can and will lead to a decline in performance and an eventual decline in customer counts. This lack of awareness can result in mistrust, misinformation, misconduct, missed opportunities and more importantly missed revenue targets. Even the newly promoted slots manager might not understand what it means to be in a top leadership position and many newbies get fired before they get the chance to find out if they have what it takes so it’s wise to do your research before taking the plunge. Add the fact that slots revenues surpass table revenues in many jurisdictions and you will hopefully reach the conclusion that now could be an ideal opportunity to review your concept of the slots manager. The following are some my thoughts about what the tech guy known as the slots manager does and should be doing to become a slots manager that inspires, leads, and generates revenues beyond expectations.
Start with yourself before you lead others – Prior to becoming a great leader it’s of fundamental importance that you get to know yourself first as without first acknowledging, accepting and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, your ability to lead, manage, influence and inspire others to achieve beyond their own expectations will be limited. It’s a well-known fact that we humans inevitably make mistakes, but a wise person will use mistakes as a learning experience to grow stronger and become a better person. Having the ability to turn your frustration into something positive is a skill worth having and it will earn you the respect of your peers, your friends and even your enemies. So how do we become a better person? We do it by taking one step at a time and you can start by ceasing to do what you know to be wrong and move towards the positive with something simple such as regular exercise and healthy eating. Transform these changes into habits and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great slots manager. Get your own house in order before you try to change the world.
Technical abilities – this is the easy part of the equation as it goes without saying that a slots manager should be able to install, program, maintain slot machines and related systems. It also helps to have experience in other areas such as planning, managing projects, using auto-cad, being an analytics geek and the list goes on… Equally important for a slot managers survival is ensuring that they have an in depth knowledge of policies and procedures and that their staff are adequately trained, supervised and evaluated on an ongoing basis in order to ensure compliance and operational consistency. In short, these are all things that can be taught and are normally included in the job description. Nothing that you probably don’t already know and plausibly not enough to convince the GM not to call you at 3am to fix his electronic pencil sharpener! Technology is constantly improving so keep learning.
Leadership – Great casino operators value a great slots manager, but to become truly successful you must first become a great leader and a great leader knows their leadership style and use their strengths to maximize their skills in the domains of leadership by building relationships, thinking strategically, influencing ideas and executing plans. Leadership requires constant focus on adding value to each customers experience and for this to happen a great slots manager must inspire trust, engage their staff, encourage feedback, and make it an integrated part of their ongoing improvements process. Without the support of your team you will already have failed at leadership. Would you rather be a follower or a leader?
Integrity, trust and professionalism – are must have qualities for anyone who manages other people. Integrity is a word that is floated around and sounds good at an interview but how many people actually know what it means to be a person of integrity? A person of integrity can be anyone who is honest, with high standards and moral principles, such as caring, giving more than receiving and focusing on constant improvement and standing up for what they believe in. Trust is also essential as when your team doesn’t trust you, they will never work above expectations and will disengage from you and your customers. Staff need leaders they can trust to inspire, help them grow and lead them when times are tough. Being professional is, in part about having the skills and abilities to get the job done and influencing others to work together to make every customer experience a memorable one. Being professional is also about constantly adapting to the ever changing workplace and feeling comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Negotiations, listening and understanding – To begin to solve any problem you need first to listen to all involved, and then understand the situation before exploring any possible solutions. Through understanding we will gain clarity and with clarity we can suggest and influence solutions. The word influence is key because the best outcomes to any given situation can only be achieved when you engage your team and negotiate with them so that they themselves ultimately produce the required solutions. A team that feels understood will create value for the customer and stimulate both personal and professional growth. A great slot manager knows this and ensures that the combined effort of the whole is always greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Managing change and getting personal – Change is inevitable and businesses that choose to stand still will fast become assigned to history. There are many powerful individuals and entities that dislike change or anything else that takes them outside their comfort zone because introducing change involves disagreement which can turn even the most friendly discussion into a verbal wrestling match so it’s essential to explore everyone’s personal viewpoint objectively and without bias. Change is born out of a need for a new product or service that creates value to the customer. Therefore, to successfully introduce change, a good leader needs to understand why the change is needed and must be clear and focused on the results and benefits measurements required to ensure success. Part of the process involves identifying the vital behaviors that need to be changed, and communicating them using the influences of personal, social and structural motivation (backed up with training) required to successfully implement the changes for both staff and customers. Change is here to stay, embrace it!
Conclusion – Effective slot managers are more than just “the tech guys” who fix your electronic pencil sharpener. They may seem alien but if they do, it’s because they’re focusing on adding value to the customer experience, increasing productivity and leading from the front. Changing your attitude towards the slots manager opens up an opportunity to change the way you operate. It will change the way you’re perceived, gain you the support of your staff, the respect of your competitors and the admiration of your customers.