Do you look for patterns?

MasterChef Leadership Lessons

Reality TV can suck me in sometimes. It’s not the realism, because so many say it might be scripted. The social-psychology is what does it. The same reason why I am so intrigued by the effect social media has on our everyday life and personable interactions. MasterChef on Fox is just one of my favorites. There are so many leadership lessons to learn from every situation, and last night’s episode was no different. You can keep reading, because I won’t spoil anything for you.

With most reality competition television, there’s typically one person safe for the week while the others battle it out to avoid elimination. In the case of MasterChef, the safe contestant gets to choose an “advantage.” Some advantages are the ability to choose a specific dish for the remaining contestants to cook, while another is the privileged of selecting teams. How you use your advantage could determine how far you go in the game. Obviously, if you’re able to eliminate all the contestants who are threats to your game, your chances of going to the end are significantly higher. This is where the lesson happens.

Do you recognize when there are patterns? Noticing these can help you leverage “advantage” opportunities. In our case, the advantages are opportunities for development. Below are negative patterns that are the most difficult to develop on.

Poor Time-Management
Probably the most noticeable. These people tirelessly grind themselves down, never recognizing the unattainable deadlines in front of them. They’re often late, to work, to meetings, and even getting off work. Granted, staying late is something all employers love in their employees, but great leaders recognize the need for balance and harmony between work and lifeTweet: . Reducing stress and burnout increases productivity. Effective time-management is invaluable in any food service operation. Have you ever received your meal to find part was cold? Good news! This is the easiest of the three to correct.

Weak Communication
Let’s all be a little honest here. Communication is something we can always polish. But, weak communication can handicap any person’s effectiveness in their operation. Most of you have probably already heard that communication is 93% nonverbal. We’re now limiting our effectiveness even further with the increasing use of e-mail, and other digital mediums.
Communication in food service plays an extremely huge role in the kitchen. Something as simple as alerting your location, “CORNER!”, or that your carrying something hot, could make the difference in preventing injuries. It doesn’t stop there. Our ineffectiveness will also hinder our emotional intelligence.
Daniel Goleman recognizes emotional intelligence as a compilation of five soft skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social-Skill. Again, the kitchen is a high-stress fast-paced environment. Emotional intelligent is always used to understand your team’s stress level. Stress is one of the cancers in workplace productivity.Tweet:

Misaligned Values
Competitive reality TV is a great demonstration. When the contestants are assigned to teams, there’s always one team (typically the targets for elimination) that has misaligned values. Someone wants to be challenged. Someone a wants to do exactly what the judges want. Another wants to take the easy route, and perform their best.
Values alignment is crucial to the effectiveness of teamwork.Tweet: Values are the foundation of both time-management and communication. They determine effective prioritization in time-management, and are the filter in which all things are communicated. A logistics company will value a timely service, but put little effort into presentation. I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. Getting a package that started as a box, but is now a ball.
Unfortunately, values realignment is the most difficult to change. It takes patience, consistency and diligence. I’m reminded of the scene in the movie “Miracle.” When coach Herb Brooks asks his team, “Who do you play for?.”

Do you recognize patterns? An employee that is always late. Someone who just doesn’t understand. A team where everyone is an All Star individually, but not as a team. What do you think are the most difficult negative patterns to transition from?

Leave your answers in the comments below and follow me on Twitter at @AlexGaskins

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