On the couch: a blog on running a successful kitchen from performance psychologist Mike Duckett

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th June 2015
This is the next instalment in a series of blogs from performance psychologist Mike Duckett of Coaching for Success, helping chefs to raise their games in the kitchen.

BEHAVIOUR

Picking up where we left off, we were looking at this simple model of performance or getting in the 'zone' and being at your best. Having set yourself a very clear goal and then done some thinkingimage 1 about how the changing context should influence what you choose to do next, what do you do next? At this point it is very tempting to just press on and do whatever comes 'naturally' but if your goal is important it might be worth stopping and planning your next move! For many people the first step is realising how much choice you have over what to do next. It's virtually always the case that you have more choice than you think. Take for example a situation where your goal is to get a junior chef to change their behaviour; the context being that you have asked twice already and nothing has changed. You have choices such as:
  • Say nothing - just let everyone know you're not happy
  • Ask about their reasons for not changing, before asking again assertively
  •  Aggressively demand in no uncertain terms that they change and threaten consequences if they don’t
One other choice is to do absolutely nothing; just let things carry on and see if anything changes sometime. This is always a choice in any circumstance, even though it's probably not one you'll pick, it's still a choice and you will have lots more than listed here if you think about it. How do you choose what to do next? Most of us don’t make a considered decision - we just do what we’ve always done in this context! Now, if that works and usually gets you what you want then of course carry on. However, if your usual reaction is to say nothing or to get angry and it doesn’t usually work too well then you could be more flexible and try new reactions to see what happens. There is a famous quote, attributed to various famous people, “if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”. No matter who said it first, it makes sense to me! goals-picTo help make your choice of behaviour you might think about someone you admire for their leadership skills in these kinds of circumstances, or even imagine your own alter ego (the ‘other’ you who is just brilliant at handling these things) and ask yourself, “what would they do right now?”.

KNOW HOW

Now you may have to consider ‘do I know how to do this?’ Behind every piece of skilful behaviour is the implicit understanding that the person obviously ‘knows how to do this’. Do you know how to respond assertively and not aggressively (if that’s what your role model does)? If not then are you capable of learning? There are courses on assertiveness running all the time. However, before you start planning to go on an assertiveness course or a leadership course to learn how to do these things, consider what you already know. I bet you know a good leader when you see one or I bet that when you imagined what your role model would do right now you imagined some behaviour pretty close to leadership or assertiveness. This tells me you already know a lot more than you think you do about the behaviour required - now it's just a matter of trying and practicing because, like ordinary motor skills such as knife handling etc., these new leadership skills simply need time to become ‘natural’ to you. After enough practice people will be saying “he/she is a natural leader”! Mike Duckett Mike Duckett has a degree in psychology and is a member of the Occupational Psychology division, the Sports Psychology division & the Coaching Psychology Special Group of the British Psychological Society. He holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy & Cognitive therapy and is a certified NLP coach. With over 20 years experience he was one of the pioneers of applying performance psychology to coach people in the hospitality industry to get the best from themselves,  in areas such as creativity; leadership; optimism etc. As a certified NLP Coach and ANLP Accredited Master Practitioner, Mike has clients ranging from world renowned chefs, restaurateurs & sommeliers to up and coming staff in both the kitchen and front of house. You can see more of Mike's blogs at coachforsuccess.wordpress.com

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th June 2015

On the couch: a blog on running a successful kitchen from performance psychologist Mike Duckett