Using Sugar to Make Sweets

This post is also available in: العربية (Arabic)

“If you’re making sweets, use sugar not salt”

Sanjay Thakkar

Of course, when you think about it that makes absolute sense.

Sure, there are other important ingredients, and if you’re going to include salt, it would be just in the smallest, amount.

Sweet dishes have sweet ingredients. This might be a simple analogy when it comes to leadership but it’s very true.  Sanjay shared this with me recently when we were talking about the success he’s now having as a leader.

And it’s a matter of knowing that sweet dishes aren’t made up of all sugar, that sugar is to be balanced with the other ingredients. That’s what leadership is about.

So what is the salt and the sugar ? Simply, this is what you say and how you behave.

And that reminds me of the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.

Model the Way

Inspire a Shared Vision

Challenge the Process

Enable others to Act

Encourage the Heart.

All of those have an element at least of ‘sugar’.

There is certainly no salt and definitely no vinegar.

When you’ve been used to making sour or salty dishes, making the change, using different ingredients doesn’t always come easily. The change firstly has to come internally – recognizing that ‘I’ have to change in order to change others is often the biggest challenge.

As a coach, counselor and of course facilitator, I’ve spent much of the last 20 years, encouraging people to look at alternative ways

The impact of what we do as leaders – our behaviors and what we say – affects not only the team we interact with in the workplace – but everyone on our lives.

Sanjay told me how much what he learned in The Leadership Challenge workshops –and the behavior changes he took on, have affected his family , his children.

Think of what you\re saying to others.

So think about the sugar you can introduce in the words you say and your behaviors.

And I’m not talking about a whole bag of sugar for a small sweet dish. I’m talking about the sugar being in balance – or as we say, meaningful and genuine.

Creating a Learning Culture

This post is also available in: العربية (Arabic)

Ok, so you’re learning every day.

But what about creating a leadership learning culture ?

As well as learning every day, leaders also create leaders around them.

You’ve heard me share with you one of the fundamentals of The Leadership Challenge – Leadership is everyone’s business.

So here’s one suggestion to help you develop leadership in others.

Next time you have a team meeting, or maybe even in a less formal environment, say, over a team lunch, ask “What have you learned as a leader in the last week ?”

I’m sure that question will give you very instructive answers. Ask them what they have learned as leaders.

They may even report something they learned from you that you didn’t realize you were doing – and what a great learning opportunity that is for you ?

They may say something which you, as leader didn’t think of – and again, what a great learning moment for you – as well as the others.

They may say something that you recognize and know is a great and positive leadership behavior – and they have recognized and learned from that.

When you make this question : what have you learned as a leader this week ? you not only remind them of the importance of learning leadership, but I’m sure you’re going to learn as well.

When you create a leadership learning environment, amazing things will happen.