Cooking up the Right Ingredients for your Team

Rachel Plotkin, Program Manager and Facilitator

When was the last time you went to someone’s house for dinner and had an excellent meal but maybe they bought dessert or had the most delicious dessert and the meal was good but it wasn’t gourmet. This is the difference between a baker and a cook. A baker is someone who enjoys following the recipe, makes sure everything is measured out and exact in their timing and precise in their measurements. A cook might put a little of this, has a recipe as a guide but really dives deep into the creativity of cooking and creates something new each time.  What if you looked at the team you lead as the cooks and the bakers. Some of your team would fall into the category of the bakers, those that need the spreadsheet, get the invoices in at the right time, and work great on deadlines and others would fall into the cook camp where they are creative, nothing is ever the same 2 times in a row and may use a guide to help them make decisions but shows fluidity in their decisions along the way. A team needs both and understanding why is key to leading your team or becoming a better leader yourself.

Take a minute to think of those you work with or the team you lead and when you begin a new project. The bakers on your team might automatically begin to think logically about the project, start to lean into the logistics, figure out the facts and figures, and begin the project management. The chefs on your team will think more broadly, what if we added a little of this, a little of that and see what we get, they are always looking for a new way to spice up the project. The leadership is figuring out how these two very different, often competing ways of working can come together and form a team. There are times when you may just want your chefs working on a team and maybe other times when you just need the bakers, but more often than not, you need both and helping them find their communication style can be the right ingredient you need for your team.

At Na’aleh, we do many workshops for lay leaders and for professionals. This month we will be doing a deep dive with our early career professionals on the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a personality test that gives people insight into themselves to help them communicate and work better in their personal and professional lives. This workshop is geared towards early career professionals because as they are just beginning in their career, Na’aleh is dedicated to making sure they have the tools for success and can continue to grow as professionals. The personality types help individuals on their professional journey to connecting them to their strengths and helps them figure out where they may need the support to grow. Using tools like the Enneagram can help teams reach the ultimate goal of collaboration, communication and success.

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