A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way – John C. Maxwell

Over the next few Thursdays, we’re going to take a look at what it means to be a leader in the kitchen. This is dedicated to aspiring leaders as much as it is to those who already head a team or section. Even if you’re not yet in charge, there are things you can do to grow into the role and mindset of a leader. The quote above is a great starting point because it expresses the essence of what you need to do and be as head of your team.

A leader knows the way: This is where leadership begins. All of us have opinions on what’s being done badly, but given the opportunity, are you able to craft a vision of where you want to take your team? A good leader is clear about where he or she is headed. You need not have the whole journey mapped out, but be certain of the direction in which you’re headed. You need not have all the answers but instead have the humility to ask for help when it’s needed.

Your vision will also include the moral compass that influences how the team operates and how decisions will be taken. So a leader, in addition to knowing where you are headed, is able to easily convey how you will get there.

A leader goes the way: A leader is a model for everyone on the team. Which means you walk the talk, live the vision and values. It means you don’t just execute your plan, but you get your hands dirty. You’re always zooming in and out, switching between seeing the big picture and tuning into the minute details.

A leader shows the way: Your leadership is only as good as your ability to inspire people to follow you. How clearly do you communicate the vision and values to them? Can you you lead people into taking action? How do you guide and nurture people so that they show up? And it’s not just one way: do you connect to and listen to everyone on your team? 

All of the above is highly relevant and necessary to leadership. But I will finish by adding this: that the most important thing that a leader can do for the team is to be truly conscious of how he or she shows up. 


What does it mean to be a leader?

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