Our food theme today is getting one’s hands dirty. I thought about this last night as I was watching “Chef Hunter” on The Food Network, a show I really like. Basically, it’s a job interview for two chefs who want to run a restaurant. Each chef is given the run of the kitchen for a service and the management evaluates how well they manage the kitchen, the menu, and their food costs. The chefs also create some special items for the day and the caliber of their cooking is part of the equation.
In last evening’s show, which took place in Hawaii, one chef generated some interesting comments by the other members of the staff. The one that triggered my thought may be unfamiliar to you, as it was to me, but it points out an interesting business lesson: the chef had a high maka maka attitude.
That expression – high maka maka – means he thought he was better than everyone else – stuck up, high maintenance. As one sous chef said, “he wants to be the boss of everyone but doesn’t want to get his hands dirty.” In my opinion, that’s about the worst thing a staff can think about a boss.
As managers, we need to let our folks know that we’re ready, willing and able to do whatever it takes to make the team successful. In this case, serving as an expeditor – the kitchen person who keeps the plates moving and everyone organized – without standing on the line and firing up dishes caused the other cooks to think the candidate was stuck up. Bad idea, and he didn’t get the job.
As I’ve said before, I always felt that my only job as “the boss” was to help other folks do their jobs. If that meant teaching, I taught. If it meant fighting to get them resources, I did that. If it meant finding them a pencil or making copies, I’d do that too. Too many of us get a title and forget how we earned it – in the trenches, getting our hands dirty. While dirty hands in a kitchen are usually a horrible idea, in this case the boss needed to get some dirt on hs hands to succeed. A good lesson for us all.
What’s on your hands?