WanaBe a ChefNeed Help Getting My Act Together

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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: Need Help Getting My Act Together
By Kidd (Kidd) on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 01:21 am: Edit

To anyone that can help me:
I have just been recently promoted to the night supervisor in my kitchen. I am pretty new in a way to this kind of thing. I have worked in a kitchen for about 7 yrs now but have never ran my own crew. In a way I have been in charge for quite sometime but never officially. I tend to be what people, especially the waitstaff call an "a$$hole", I take this as a compliment. Is that wrong. From what I have gained in my short experience in the industry, I thought that people like me were the main export in our business. I guess my problem is that I don't know how to deal with people, that is why I am not a server anymore( thank the lord). I am going to culinary school in a few months and feel that I need to figure out what my pros and cons are before I go so that I can better myself before I get there. I feel that this will make me a better student and chef when I get out. I guess my problem is I can't identify my problems(hence the irony). I totally want to do everything that I can to make myself the best chef that I can be, but I wonder if I have too many downfalls to make it like I would like to. I know I can succeed but I have too many problems dealing with my crew in a 100% productive way. Most of them like me(except the ones that have been there for awhile and I got promoted before them(understandable I would think)but even they are my good friends). I guess my question is, how do I become a good leader of my own crew so that we can all be successful in what we do. Any help and advice is GREATLY appreciated and VERY welcomed. Thanks for contributing. Kidd

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 10:34 am: Edit

I think the best advice I can give you is to "catch people doing something good".

We get caught up in all the wrong things going on. Negative feed back is poor teacher. Using positive feed back you will surprized in how fast you can build up a crew.


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 12:52 pm: Edit

Tim is absolutely right!!! Also, if you see them making a mistake, don't b----. Go over and show them what they are doing "different", not wrong. Show them the way it should be in a non-condescending manner. I drink and have a good time with my co-workers but, if I have to discipline them the next day for showing up late or whatever they know I will. It doesn't matter we were having a few beers the night before.
You have to develop your own style, just remember the old adage, You catch more flies w/ honey then w/ vinegar. This also applies to real life.

By Peachcreek (Peachcreek) on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 01:06 pm: Edit

a few good traits to consider.
1. Lead by example. Don't make your crew do tasks that you would'nt do.
2. Trust their expertise. Those folks know a lot. Learn to trust their abilities, and maybe you will learn something, too.
3. Don't forget your roots. We were all cooks and dmos at some time in our careers. Empathy goes a long way.
4. Advocate for your crew. Owners and upper mgmt rarely know the day to day workings of a kitchen, they seem to only see the numbers, not the people behind the product. That IS your job.
5. Share your sucesses. When a customer wants to compliment the kitchen for the food, make sure everyone gets the credit. There is nothing worse than climbing into the spotlight on the backs of your own crew.
6. Facilitate. That tired buzzword of the 90s still means something. Give your staff the support to do the job.
7. Aim high. Be the best. Whether you lead or have to pick them up and drag them along, we all suceed together.
8. Develop a good sense of humor. Chri$t know you will need it. Laughter can disarm some pretty tense situations.
9. We all have lives. Don't forget that is also true for All your staff. We have had discussions on smoking, kids, and other types of favoritism. It only works if everyone has a share.
10. Feed em. Talk to em. LISTEN. The crew isn't there to be your for-hire friends. There is work to do. They need you to bring some order to this mess. When they do something right, as Cheftim said, let them know immediately. If they really pissed you off, wait 10 minutes. Don't take it or make it a personal thing.
11. This list could go on indefinately, but I won't.

By Debord (Debord) on Sunday, July 08, 2001 - 01:15 pm: Edit

Why are you an ahole? Quite frankly I think most leaders are because their lazy. Their a dime a dozen, is that what you really want to be? It's definately easier to just bark out dirrections then to take the time to think things thru. Aholes always get taken down, after a while when you've pissed off enough people they all work on taking you down. And they will!

Assuming your a ahole because your a perfectionist then you need to think about just how good you are. No matter how talented you are you simply can't do everything yourself, so you do need people, even people who aren't as good as your-self. Really talented people don't need to prove it, you reallize the best way to really show off your abilities is by teaching. When you can take a person who lacks knowledge and or ability and you can turn them into a productive employee that really shows talent! Respect isn't something you beat out of someone it's something you earn, everyday!

Prove how smart you are by out smarting the situation not by riding rough over people.
Your looking at the whole situation like a child, "I want, I need", be the adult, learn how to control your imediate need for gratification and realize the pay off could be much greater if you work mentally thru the situation instead of being a reaction based person.

The ability to lead "well" only comes thru experience. Before you should lead you need to know the work inside out. If you don't you should'nt be in that position. If you do know the work, then think past the work. Think specificly about each employee, what are their strengths and weaknesses. Write it down. Then go about learning how to better each person. Teach them where they lack knowdledge. Handle each differently when needed, realize each person reacts to dirrection differently.

Work together as a team. Have meetings with them. Take notes from the rush the night before, tell them some of the good things you caught them doing. Point out names of who does this well, make them a good example for others to learn from. Get them to learn from each other. Be a risk taker, and compliment good work out loud so the person is acknowledged by his peers, make them feel good about what their doing. They'll try even harder to do it well.

When theirs bad stuff happening address the problem imediately, BUT ALWAYS, ALWAYS handle the person privately and quitely. NEVER ever think your teaching them while publicly humilating them. You'll be the only one who will look like the ass.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 11:38 am: Edit

Excellent advice Peachcreek, DeBord
Are both of you females?, you guys are so much better leaders then males!!!

By Debord (Debord) on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 02:12 pm: Edit

Debord is female. Peachcreek isn't.

is that a stab or a oops?

By Peachcreek (Peachcreek) on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 04:43 pm: Edit

The secret to leadership is getting your agenda accomplished, while making everyone feel good about helping you in the process. There in lies magic.....

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Monday, July 09, 2001 - 07:23 pm: Edit

Motivation...getting people to do what you want them to do and making them feel good abouti it.

By Debord (Debord) on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 08:36 am: Edit

Well kidd, are you thinking?

By Kidd (Kidd) on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 06:20 pm: Edit

Thank you all for your advice. Over the last couple of days I have been checking in and reading up on everyone's input. It has been very helpful and I have been putting it to use over the last few days. I have already noticed a difference in attitdes at work and towards me. I now have more of a sense of accomplishment and teamwork with my crew. Everyone's advice has definately affected my way at work and is greatly appreciated. Please keep it coming. Thanks so much. Kidd

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 09:50 pm: Edit

Kidd, half the battle is listening. Good luck!

By Debord (Debord) on Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - 06:54 am: Edit

Well then, it seems like you've answered your own question. If your willing to give and work with others then any cooking school would be luck to have you!

Were all "in the process", you never can get too comfortable in this industry, theirs too much to learn.

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