How do you get people to do what you want? This is another way of saying, how can we get to the place where we can trust people enough to do the work that we want done so that we don’t have to actually do it ourselves. Based on my own experience and in hearing stories of people from all over the world, this is a common struggle. As creative individuals, we want control over the final product. We want to make sure that the final dish comes out right, but just as important is that we want to know that we can trust the process leading up to the final product – we want to know that our employees didn’t cut corners somewhere along the way that could compromise the outcome. The problem with most of us, though, is that inherent in this situation is the necessity to for us to let go and to trust those with whom we work – we need to trust that they will get the job done. But. how do we get there?

Well. There’s 4 key things you must do:

1. We need to properly train our staffs. We need to give them the tools and resources that will help them to be successful. So many of us get frustrated when we aren’t seeing the results we want from certain individuals, but so often, if we take a step back and look in the mirror we’ll see that perhaps their lack of success within our organization falls more on us than on them. Sure, there is a certain amount of personal responsibility that comes with every job and every task, but are we training people properly? Are we giving them recipes to follow? Are we acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses and assigning them certain roles within the organization that tap into their strengths while at the same time minimize their weaknesses
2. Once we’ve properly trained our staff, we need to continually assure them that they are in an environment that is safe. What does this mean exactly? Well, to put it simply, in order for individuals to do their best work and to be able to properly grow, we need to create an environment that allows for them to grow creatively and to stretch beyond their comfort zones. If you don’t know how to make a chicken stock or breakdown a fish, chances are you’re not going to get it exactly right the first go round. If I know this going into it, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, knowing that there’s a learning curve and that the only way you are going to grow as a cook and as a chef, is if I give you the space to fail on your own without me punishing you for it. Because, if I give you a chance to fail on your own, soon enough, you’ll get the hang of it on your own. You get the hang of it, not by me holding your hand every step of the way, but by trying and failing until you succeed – on your own.
3. Empower them. By empowering people in our organizations, we give them the confidence needed as they go down this road of trying to figure things out for themselves. If I give you a task and you screw it up the first time, but I still show the confidence in you to figure it out, you’re much more likely to succeed in the near future in figuring it out, versus if I berate you and give you hard time. Empowering people isn’t about expecting them to be perfect and flawless, it’s about trusting them to continually move closer to getting it right, until eventually somewhere down the line, they do indeed get it right. If I berate you, chances are you’re going to crawl into a corner, in order to protect yourself. If you create a proper environment of safety, empowerment looks like confidence and trust – if you don’t, it looks like intimidation and disappointment.
4. We need to hold them accountable. This might seem like a counter-intuitive move based on the last several points, but just bear with me. In terms of being accountable, I’m not talking about getting it right all the time. Holding someone accountable doesn’t mean you expect for them to be perfect. Instead, it means that you have high standards for them, because you expect so much from them. I think we’ve all had a parent, coach or teacher who seemed unnecessarily hard on us, as we were trying to come into our own in a certain area of our life, but in looking back, it’s usually clear that this pressure to “get it right” speaks more to their expectation of us, and less to their disappointment in us. The key with accountability is setting clear expectations, communicating those expectations and then giving someone a break if they failed to reach those expectations, even if they poured their heart and soul into meeting them. Accountability is what allows us to grow, but only if the person being held accountable feels like the person holding them accountable has their best interest in mind. Why do you have their best interest in mind? Well, because you want them to grow in your organization, but more importantly, because you care – you want to see them grow in their career. You want to see them tap into their full potential – you want to see them grow into who you always knew they were capable of becoming.

None of this is easy. Most of it is hard. But it’s all worth it. Buying into this will take  a load of stress off of you, while at the same time allowing and facilitating your team’s growth in ways you never knew possible.

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I spent time with the world's best chefs to learn what separated them from the rest. I’m proud to share these stories and spread some good in the world and to have penned a book that needed to be written.

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