The Ingredients We Need to Cook Our Leadership Flavor Are Within Us

Nov 16, 2021

Although every dish has its own ingredients, a way of mixing them, and a specific cooking style, every cook will produce its unique version. If we look at grilled meat, for instance, a basic dish that requires just three elements: meat, fire, and a grill, we'll see no two countries cook it the same way. However, although grilled meat differs so much from region to region, every style has its followers, people who prefer them over others. Something similar happens with leadership, and that is what we are talking about today. 

In this episode, we talk about why I decided to name this podcast Flavor of Leadership. We explore first the choice of words, the relationship between the word "flavor" and my love for cooking, and some of my family's food-related traditions. Then, we look at "leadership" and the connection with my desire of being the best leader I could be. As we tie up the two concepts, we take a step deeper into learning to believe and trust in our unique leadership abilities, lean into authenticity, and be always willing to learn something new and grow. 

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • What does flavor mean to my family and me (1:25) 
  • What did I learn from my first steps as a leader (3:53)
  • What do our people need from us as leaders (7:23)
  • There are many leadership flavors. We just need to discover ours (9:31)
  • Those who aren't attracted by our leadership flavor also aren't a good fit for our company (11:16)

Let's Connect!


Clint Hoopes: This is the Flavor of Leadership podcast I am your host, Clint Hoopes. Together we explore the unique blend of leadership wisdom that helps top leaders consistently achieve work goals, develop personally, and find fulfillment with family. Let's get started.

This is episode number fifty-five, if this is your first time joining us welcome you have chosen a great day to start with us because today, we're going to be talking about why this podcast is called Flavor of Leadership. I had several questions lately from listeners asking me to define why the podcast is called Flavor of Leadership and I realized I haven't talked about this in quite some time and then figured it was time that we had this discussion once again. So let's let's dive in, but first things first let's talk about flavor. So why flavor this seems maybe an odd choice with leadership so the reason for flavor is this.

I love to cook I do and so does my wife we  both love to cook Angela is an amazing baker. It's pretty dangerous around our house at the time she makes her fresh homemade bread every weekend it's just amazing and she's also just amazing all round cook in general and so you know sometimes I'm the one that will cook when you know she wants something grilled or out on the smoker that kind of thing and but I also love to cook a lot of other things as well everything from you know Thai curries to other traditional food and really like I said just enjoy cooking just just about everything anything. I I told my wife wants to set I want to I want to have cooked everything at least once that's kind of a broad statement you can't really cook everything at least once but listening I want to at least try making it once and she collapsed when I say that but I really do. we'll have to do that so so we've  tried cooking a lot of different things that we still have a long way to go but my wife she always jokes because when someone says you know there's nothing to eat in the house or something like that I always kind of take that as a challenge and so she laughs at me and and I like to take our leftovers or random ingredients we have in the house and I try to make you know an unexpected good meal like I said it's a challenge for me so I I think it's kind of fun sometimes. I'll just take you know some leftover rice or whatever we have in the fridge or make some fried rice or something similar you know also in our house we're real big on pizza on Fridays we've we've done that since my oldest daughter was just really young and so you can show up at our house on most Friday nights most Friday nights and we'll be making pizza of some type right we may be making it in the pizza oven outside make it in the normal oven inside, we will make calzones  you know anything pizza related and we have a ton of fun doing it.  

So this explains a bit about the flavor part of the name, right we love cooking it's a little it's a little nod to, to that love but why you know why leadership. Leadership is the other piece right so we'll we'll tie those together so let's talk about leadership now. so why leadership so I need to go back earlier in my leadership journey for this part all right so let's go back many years ago and I remember that early in my career I would do my best to try and emulate the amazing leaders I saw around me right. So I had a great Boss and I would look and say wow they're really good at that so I would try and emulate things that they did and it was funny I I found myself struggling with my leadership when doing this as a young leader I I had many employees right that were older than I was often very often in fact and this was extremely intimidating for me especially when it came to accountability and discipline if in doubt myself and my ability to lead these people who had much more life experience and and even industry experience then I have and so it was because of my own insecurity that I saw other leaders like I said that I respected and they were doing great with their teams and when I had been one of their employees I I felt loved and respected by them and so I wanted to emulate some of the things they did and I did it unsuccessfully to be honest with you in many ways.  

Really what ends up happening is I was  just copying them in ways that is often unhealthy then they in turn weren't effective I would see ways that they would interact with their employees or interact with their team. Or the way they would discipline and I would find myself trying to copy the way they said things verbatim sometimes I thought oh that worked out perfectly for them I'm gonna try saying that in this way and see how that works with my team. See if that can help you know. If I can help it show the vision that we're trying to do the way they did and really what happened is just like I said, trying to to copy them those ways didn't have the impact that it did on their teams right and  I knew why in some ways what they do wasn't my style but that kinda left me with well what do I do? I mean cause the worst part of this was my people the team I was leading we're not as happy as they could be either. You know I found myself often second guessing my decisions or or my vision and they weren't happy at the same time . So it was more or less a lose lose situation you know wasn't reaching my potential and I wasn't as happy as I could be.

Our numbers were fine right the performance was good I wasn't at risk at getting fired or anything like that we really were doing pretty good and and some people actually told me I was a great leader. Some said you do a great job you know and and I think sometimes it was in spite of some of the things that I did wrong we weren't killing it I knew we had the potential to do we were missing something and over the years I found through experience that I needed to be the authentic me if I wanted to succeed my people didn't need one the other leaders I was trying to copy the needed me. Now this is pretty cliche right here at all over the place right that you just need to always be yourself and that's easier said than done as we all know. It sounds cliche but it is difficult and we all inherently know that inside. I've even told that to leaders myself in the past it just be yourself and people will see your genuine and they will want to follow. I believe the state I believe that's true people will see your genuine they will want to fall when you are yourself but how do you actually accomplish that? So like we said it's not that easy.

Some of you would be nodding your heads right now as you have been there or you're there right now you're trying to figure this out, how we get out of this. It’s kind of like telling a young child to stop being so short and just grow already right, as if they could control that right that almost out feels if you're a leader that's struggling in this place where you're doubting yourself and you you know you want to be yourself but you're not quite sure what that means for you and for your team. You know it has taken me years to cut through the noise of the leadership world and truly behind the authentic me as a leader does that mean that I have all the answers no way. I don't buy it I know that the answer for you is somewhere in being authentic to yourself in looking at all of the leaders around you looking at leadership principles looking at all the different things around you and finding out what is right for you what do you connect with and take those things into your leadership so you can be authentic you. That is truly why I started the podcast to help others see that there are many right flavors of leadership styles or ways to lead. In truth I want people to discover that back for themselves and you truly believe it like we said before it is one thing to say it as I believe that most people would agree that there are many right flavors or styles of leadership but do their actual actions reflect that belief and that is what I am doing each week on the podcast.

So why flavor of leadership because truly I am a big believer that just like with some of the key principles of cooking right you can take individual ingredients that seem subpar on their own and you can make something with a great flavor something memorable it won't call to everyone that you create but those that like it they'll be attracted to it and they’ll want some more and more they can't get enough of it and they'll tell their friends that are similar about it as well we all have very specific food preferences and we're attracted to the flavors that we enjoy we can all relate with that. Within my little house here we have so many different food flavor and preferences that sometimes it can be exhausting but leadership is exactly the same way we can take leadership principles and strategies and apply them in our own way and have a unique leadership flavor that the world needs from us and just like food not everyone will be attracted to your flavor and guess what that is okay. That is okay, that means you're doing something right. Those that are attracted to your flavor will join your team and they will thrive.

So that also means that some people as you find your flavor may leave, but those are the wrong people. Those are the wrong people as you implement some of these things and some of these true principles and be true to yourself but those stay those those are your true team. I truly believe this in realizing it years ago changed my life and my leadership and that is the reason that I emailed a couple weeks ago that I had opened a few slots on my schedule for my one on one coaching to help people who want to kickstart their growth personally and as a leader. So if you're one of these people want to kickstart your growth email me at [email protected] and I can send you some more details on this but I'll tell you these principles we are discussing today they're not just true in business it also changed the way I parent my six children they need me and my unique attributes as a parent to be the happiest they can be and when I am true to my parenting flavor I am happier as well so what is the challenge for this week, this week if this conversation today resonated with you. I just ask that you please share this episode with someone that can use this message as well. The message that they are enough and that the progress they desire is within their reach. Perhaps the leading one person or a hundred they can do it. Or perhaps it is a parent you're thinking of that you know they could use the reminder that they are enough and that they are exactly what their children need. Thank you for joining me here today so grateful you'd spend this time with me and so grateful to have you here on the flavor of leadership podcast you got this until next week.

Thanks for joining me on this week's episode of the flavor of leadership podcast if you enjoyed what you heard please share with a friend and if you haven't already subscribe, rate and review the show on your favorite podcast player if you have any questions comments or feedback for us you can reach me directly at thanks for listening.