Mastering Leadership: How To Cook Up A Winning Team

Whether you’re new to being a leader or are a seasoned pro, you need to have some special ways to inspire your team to collaborate, create together, and thrive—even in uncertain times.

There’s a method to leading and in many ways, it’s a lot like being a chef in a fast-paced Michelin star kitchen. As a skillful leader, you need to know how to use the best tools, motivate your staff, inspire greatness—all with a sense of being able to repeat your command performance.

It’s often said that people will model the style of their leader. Let’s look at how being an inspiring leader, much like being an inspirational chef, will help your team stay cooking—even in challenging times.

Clear Communication

What’s your approach to communication? Are you transparent and open? Are you opaque and secretive?

In a fast-paced workplace, kitchen, or studio, people need to know what’s going on.

Leading a team, you’ll model communication standards in ways you may not have realized.

Checking your communication style includes looking at all aspects of how you send messages. If you’re focusing on speech, consider the receiver. Practice empathy. You may need to modify your choice of words, tone, and timing to convey your message accurately.

If you’re looking at email, think about timing, length, tone, and emotion. In other words, if you’re feeling the heat of the moment—don’t send that email. Wait until you’ve cooled down, reconsidered, and identified the most important point.

One of the weird things about emails is they tend to sound more negative than you may have intended. The receiver is not able to modify the words without seeing your body language, facial expression, or hearing your true tone.

You may want to add a sentence clarifying, such as, “you may be wondering why I mention this…

Optimistic Outlook

Are you a glass-half-empty or half-full kind of leader? If you are always looking for fault, finding flaws, and pointing out imperfections…well, your team will feel it.

If you’re the one who can keep an eye on the good, notice what’s working, and find creative solutions to bridge challenges, they’ll feel that as well.

Wondering who they would rather work for?

Hands down, people like to work with optimists.

Iteration and Refinement

An adage that is true in the kitchen and any creative workplace is: “Fail fast.”

This motto guides teams and leaders to take risks, conduct experiments, and recover at lightning speed. If you are working with creative designers, writers, and innovators—the most important thing is to encourage experimentation.

Not the same as encouraging random and crazy solo excursions. You may want to work out with your team a process for iterative design, verification, and refinement. By agreeing on a blueprint for the process, you’ll be able to keep creative juices flowing and refine your process as well as your outputs.

Reward and Recognition

Let’s face it. We all like to have extra kudos for a job well done. Rewards are just like having some extra sauce on your pasta. It makes you feel all warm and cozy inside. Having the right saucepans to make that sauce…well, that’s getting the rewards at the right time, in the right amount. You just feel like a winner.

Guess what? Everyone likes to feel like a winner. Especially when they know they deserve it. When you achieve this, your team will put out and be more creative on an ongoing basis.

You won’t have to push to make it happen. You’ll just be part of a winning team.

Keeping A Balcony View

In leadership and the kitchen, it helps to keep an overview. Many leaders refer to this as, “keeping a balcony view.”

What does that mean? Step back. Step above. Get an overview. When you look at the big picture, your perspective changes. This global approach helps you communicate more effectively with your team.

Stainless steel and a 5-ply construction cook sauces evenly from the pan’s base all the way up through the walls. A stay-cool handle helps you monitor what’s going on from a comfortable distance.


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