5 Lessons We Can Learn About Leadership From Barbecue

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For thousands of years, humans have gathered around fire, relying on its ability to provide heat and sustenance. And while our modern-day meetings may look a little different from ours prehistoric ancestorsThere’s still some magic that happens when a group of people come together to feast on a flame: that’s the magic of barbecue.

I am an avid griller. That means I’m constantly learning new strategies for throwing the best possible barbecue with food that calls for boxes to go to guests. As I have grown into a leader, I have realized that I apply many of these strategies to my business as well in order to stand in front of the fire. So how can we bring the magic of barbecue to our backyard and office?

inclusive barbecue

There’s nothing worse than attending a summer barbecue, only to find that there isn’t a meal that accommodates your dietary restrictions. You are eating chips and salsa for dinner while the rest of the guests delight in the feast.

As hosts, it is our job to consider all dietary needs and preferences when creating the menu to ensure that everyone invited attends. The same applies when creating an inclusive work culture – what should be on your menu of offerings to support every person, regardless of background?

It may be more work for the host, but when we add flavors to the menu, we increase the chances that everyone will be satisfied and maybe even surprised by a dish they’ve never tried before. Similarly, making a inclusive and diverse work environment, we not only meet the needs of the individual people on our team, but we also create a richer and more exciting final product for our customers.

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control the heat

When you barbecue, you have to engage closely with the heat of the grill. Do you want the temperature to be high and hot for a quick sear on the steak? Or less and slower to smoke the brisket?

The best grillers control their heat; They do not allow heat to be controlled. In leadership, emotion is our fire and it is vital to our success, but it can be too easy to let our emotions drive us away. without self-awareness and controlWe may unintentionally place a heavy burden on our employees or injure them.

Conversely, we can be too “cool,” allowing us to take advantage of ourselves or downplay bad behavior. Great leaders know how to organize their nature based on context and outcome – they are in the moment, their eyes fixed firmly on the temperature gauge, ready to adjust at any time.

our friend is ready

A barbecue host’s nightmare might look like this: You’re standing at the grill, sweating from bullets and food is an hour behind. Guests are hungry, impatient and quietly questioning whether they should leave and just order takeout.

Without proper preparation, barbecue can quickly derail. Plus, if you don’t plan to season and marinate the meat or vegetables, the meal you were going to serve will be not only late but subpar as well.

Our result is in line with our preparation. Whether I’m standing in front of the grill or my board members, if I’m not prepared, my results won’t meet my goals. When I am too busy to prepare properly for a board meeting, the meeting is unproductive and unproductive. However, when I do take the time to set my goals and collect my notes, the meeting is seamless and we get what we want.

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fire discipline

Grillers know they can’t “set and forget it,” walking away from the fire to chat with friends or to chill inside. If they do, they may be committing one of grilling’s main sins: over-cooked meat. Your heart sank as you poke at the burnt, dried brisket, and more often than not, the food is unattainable. Even if we’ve barbecued a million times, we’ll have to monitor the process minute by minute, looking for signs that the food is done.

The “set it and forget it” approach to leadership is equally destructive. It is important that leaders stay focused and constantly monitor the health of their businesses, projects and people. the processes we create – especially those we sometimes find “boring” or rote – and compatibility With which we allow them to flourish their business.

If we neglect regular check-ins, we can flare up and jeopardize our success. The discipline of great leadership is in standing by the fire, when all you want to do is sit down, have a beer, and relax with the rest of the guests.

Grilling with Intuition

I don’t necessarily recommend you try it at home, but when I grill, I don’t use a thermometer or follow recipes. Of course, thermometers and dishes can be useful – I relied heavily on them when I was first learning. But over time, I found that when I stopped using them, I was forced to become over-present, relying on my senses and intuition to figure out my next move.

In business, we need to avoid relying too heavily on standard check-in practices and data analysis, lest we become complacent. Such tools provide extremely useful information, but it’s easy to become so obsessed with what the data says that we fail to ask basic questions like, “What do I think about this? Are we headed in the right direction? ?” One of the most powerful tools we have is our intuition, and sometimes it’s the most useful data points we can follow.

Recipes, thermometers and data provide the foundation, but what happens if the thermometer breaks or the data formula is out of date? When we stay hyper-attended and focused, we make sure we don’t miss out on potential opportunities or problems. And if we want to make something beyond the typical hamburger and move toward the extraordinary, we have to shun recipe books, take risks, and trust our gut.

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do the grilling

There’s a reason we all love attending barbecues. But before you stop reading and start planning, I have a few more tips to prepare you for success on the grill and in the office. A grilling speed round, if you will.

Consider using a spice you’ve never tried before—but remember to taste it before pouring the whole bottle. This is akin to experimentation and repetition in the workplace. Try new things and work on improving them over time.

Plus, never underestimate the simple contribution of salt and pepper or what a dash of Worcestershire sauce can bring to the overall flavor of a dish. Sometimes, the simple things we do in business keep us at the finish line. People may not always notice when they are, but they will definitely know it when they are not.

Finally, as the late great Anthony Bourdain once said, “The barbecue may not be the way to world peace, but it is a start.” Barbecue may not be what we look to for leadership advice, but it can still teach us a lot.