A cooking lesson in Leadership

Leaders and cooks

Like leaders, cooks are visionaries. They have a deeper understanding of the ingredients they’re working with and they know how to combine them to deliver a great meal.

Some of the key traits that great cooks and great leaders have in common are discipline, hard-work, creativity and adaptability.

In their hands, a simple recipe becomes an experience, just as in the hands of a good leader, a group of people become a team.

And then there’s Jamie Oliver who does both, at the same time.

The recipe for an engaged team

Start off by getting to know the people you’re working with. Some people believe that a distanced, strictly professional relationship is the way to go. We really believe in building quality relationships with the people you work with, relationships that grow trust and encourage people to collaborate naturally, not because they’ve been assigned to a project together.

At Hppy we use this Personal Development Framework to see where our personal values align. As a leader, you’ll want to make sure you have this information even before you get started on cooking a great team. Choosing the right ingredients is essential.

The process is pretty easy, in theory, but you’ll need a lot of practice and patience to get it right. Involve your team members in the decision making process. If you want them to own up to the objectives you’ve se for the team, you need to make sure that they understand them and they are willing to commit to them.

These objectives need to be related to your company mission.  Employees are happier in a mission-driven company, research tells us. According to the 2013 Emergent Workforce Study, 70% of employees who work for companies with a clear mission have high job satisfaction compared to just 34% of employees whose companies have no clear mission.

Next step, fostering a team culture. You spend a lot of time with these people. Most of the time, to be honest. How you interact with one another, how you manage success and failure define you as a team. It comes as no surprise that the more you invest in building this team on a foundation of common values and commonly agreed rules, the more engaged you will be.

Leadership – the sauce that binds it all

By now, you have everything you need. How you bind these ingredients is a leadership challenge.

This was actually a phrase I picked up in a kitchen related joke made by a manager and it really stuck with me because it was such a down-to-earth way of expressing a complex notion.

The sauces itself is another recipe. What’s important for this conversation is to ensure maximum compatibility between the two, the team and the leader.

Employee engagement is the final goal for both, that’s the conclusion we’ve come to on discussing whether management is the sole responsible for engaging a team.

A leader is there to combine and maximize the strengths of his team members and to ensure that they collaborate as best as possible. Like a sauce.

Ready to cook an engaged team? Let us know how your dish turned out, we’re really excited to hear about it!

Image via StockSnap.io under C.C.0 license (modified)