Your Team is like Leftover Soup: Even better as time goes by!

Posted: 2 March 2015 at 9:22 am | Author: Laura Morris

Grandmas through the ages have always sworn that soup gets better as time goes by. Flavors mellow, blend, and mix in the refrigerator, adding a magical ‘something’ to the soup that was already pretty wonderful to start with.

What’s Grandma’s secret? More importantly, what does that have to do with your team?

Making a really good team is just like making a really good soup. Grandma would go down to the local market, or the shop, and pick through the veggies, the meat, the herbs, the spices, looking for the right ones to get for dinner. Stuff that was overripe or too green wasn’t used, and of course every dish had its own recipe. Secret sauce? No, just care and a bit of love.

Teams are like that too. The best teams have a little bit of everything; the meat and potatoes balanced out with the dash of garlic or pepper. Potatoes by themselves can be boring, and if all you have is jalapeño soup, you won’t taste anything but pain. So you’ll have ‘meat and potatoes’ team members, and that bit of spice that’s creativity or genius helps bring them together to a really good blend. That’s not saying your specialist team members are better than the familiar generalist; that’s saying you can’t have one without the other!

So as a chef, and even a manager, it’s your job to work with your people to make sure you have the right proportions for the flavor you’re trying to achieve. If you don’t know where you’re going in business, that’s like not knowing what you’re trying to cook. All you’ll get is a bad taste in your mouth.

Once that’s done, let your team age, and get to know each other. No, don’t stick them in a cold and dark place – that’s taking the soup metaphor a little too far. Let the team members meet, match, and mix; as time goes by, if you’ve got the ingredients right, they’ll start forming a solid team. You can guide this, but not micromanage this – ask any cook who is constantly picking, stirring, and modifying the dish!

This is often why teams stumble when a new manager comes in to lead an existing team; what was just to one manager’s taste may not be what the new boss likes to eat. That’s not a crime, that’s just different tastes. That said, as a manager, it’s your job to learn about other flavors and tastes – the world would be a boring place if the only food was frozen pizza!

So remember – the longer you let a team stew together, the better the flavor of your workplace will be!

Bon Appetite!

Want to know more about managing your team effectively? Check out CAW Business ILM accredited Leadership and Management Courses or call 01480 422060 for more information.

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