Learning a Kinder Leadership Style

If you’ve ever watched the hit Netflix food and travel program Salt Fat Acid Heat, you’ve observed the friendly, bubbly personality of its star, chef Samin Nosrat.

She’s known for her warm, upbeat style. In an article for the food magazine Bon Appetit, a writer who spent time with Samin concluded, “She really wants you to love her, and she has an uncanny, non-smarmy ability to get you to do just that.”

Yet, like so many leaders, she didn’t always lead with her innate warmth and charm. In fact, Nosrat said in a recent profile for Inc. Magazine that in her first high pressure management job in a kitchen ten years ago, when she was 25, she took on a much different personality in an attempt to lead without any leadership training. When she felt that the mostly older and male employees weren’t listening to her, she says she would act “mean,” and “passive-aggressive” as a way to get results. 

This adopted personality did not work well for Nosrat, and, according to the article, by the time she left, she was convinced never wanted to manage anyone again. (And perhaps the employees she managed felt the same?)

It can be a tricky balance to lead with warmth and connection while also presenting ourselves in a way that encourages others to follow us. Sometimes we are thrown into leadership situations before we have learned much at all about how to lead. Under stress, we may resort to ineffective ways of communicating. These can sometimes get short-term results, but in the end, can lead to burnout for everyone.

I was happy to read that over the decade since that job, Samin Nosrat has worked to learn ways of leading without resorting to getting “mean,” all while building a very successful brand at the same time. 

She’s taking on a new project and she’s going to be managing people again, using the lessons she’s learned, and this time, she says, she’ll be managing very differently.

I don’t know if I’ll spectacularly fail. But I do know this: How I treat people, and how we treat one another, and the feeling around what we’re doing–that’s the most important thing.”

Read more about Samin Nosrat at Inc.:  https://www.inc.com/


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