Leadership IS The Special Sauce

Sadly, I didn’t grow up on fast food. I was the youngest of six children and, given the fact that my Dad worked three jobs to support us all, the only fast food I ever knew was the quickness of which you had to eat in order to get your share.BIGSAUCECHIP
So, after I graduated from Navy boot camp and had the chance to pick what I wanted to eat, I spent a LOT of time at McDonald’s. My indulgence of choice? The BIG MAC meal!

The jingle I heard so much as a child resonated and pulled me in like the Death Star’s tractor beam on the Millennium Falcon. Do you remember it? It’s haunting, fat soaked words still speak to me today:

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.”

Although delicious, a Big Mac is just a glorified cheeseburger if it weren’t for one ingredient….the special sauce. Please note that McDonald’s doesn’t say secret sauce. It’s no secret, you can find the recipe plastered all over the internet.

Just as McDonald’s has a special sauce that keeps fat kids (like me) coming back over and over, your organization has a special sauce that can keep your team engaged and coming back for more as well. What is that special sauce? Solid leadership.

That’s no secret, is it? Solid leadership is, however, special. Solid leadership links the team to the mission and serves as the conduit from which the meaning and value of what’s being done is extracted. The measurements may differ, depending on your taste, but here are the 4 things that I believe make leadership special.

Ingredient #1: Compassion

Compassion is when leaders take the time to understand team members and attempt to feel what they feel. Understanding the team helps them feel understood and valued.

Ingredient #2: Communication

Communication can make or break any evolution (as you know). We, as leaders, need to let the team know what we know when we know and also let them know when we don’t know.

Ingredient #3: Collaboration

Collaboration is when we roll up our sleeves, prepare to get dirty and work along side the team. It is also letting go of the reigns and empowering people to have a say in what they do and how they do it.

Ingredient #4: Community

Community is better than being a part of a team, it is feeling like you a part of something larger than yourself and that you’re all in this together.

Like I stated before, the measurements may vary but, normally, they are dictated by the consumers you serve, your team. One recipe may call for a double heaping cup of communication and just a half of community…only you know how to mix it because only you know what your team needs. I will say, however, that if you want the team to be engaged and keep coming back for more, you’ll keep playing with the mixture until you get it just right. Solid leadership is the special sauce…it’s no secret.

What’s YOUR best tip on keeping the sauce special?

Editor’s Note: This post has been republished with permission from Chip Lutz

Chip Lutz

Chip Lutz

President and Founder at Unconventional Leader, LLC
Lieutenant Commander Chip Lutz, USN(Ret) works with leaders who want to lead better, get more done and leave a legacy. A retired Navy Officer, he has had two command tours and served as the Director of Security for Naval District Washington, DC during September 11th 2001 – where he was responsible for the safety and security of 25,000 people on 9 different Naval Installations in the National Capital Region during one of our Nation’s most trying times. A seasoned educator and trainer, he is currently adjunct faculty for two different universities and has taught over 20 different classes in leadership, management, human resource development, and organizational behavior. He is the author of 3 books, been published in Security Management Magazine, and has had numerous articles on teamwork and leadership published in Zig Ziglar’s Weekly Newsletter.
Chip Lutz
Chip Lutz



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