Leadership Nightmare

Alright, don’t make fun, but I had some free time recently and I enjoyed a few episodes of the show Kitchen Nightmares on Hulu.com. If you have never seen it, the premise is a professional chef attempts to rescue restaurants that are going under. Usually the food is horrible, the kitchen is dirty, and there is just no inspiration at all. The show is a little over the top, yes, and it’s definitely a mind-numbing type of show. But I found one thing about it especially interesting.

No matter what the details were (nasty food, pests, mold) in the end every restaurant had the same problem. They were led by people who were egotistical, who cared only about themselves, their image, and what they thought. Example 1: a chef who kept pointing out he was voted best chef in the county at some point, who blamed the dirtiness of his kitchen on his staff rather than take control. Example 2: An owner who spent profits on himself rather than buy working equipment, yelled at his staff constantly, and spend most of the night drinking and eating the food rather than running the business. Example 3: A chef who banked on his 37 years of experience to justify everything he did, and a sous chef who just didn’t care about anyone else’s opinion. (They were actually fired in the end.)

It was all amazing to me, everyone had the same problem: poor, self involved leadership and the results that entails. In the last restaurant, the manager was the son of the original owner. He had no confidence to get his business under control, and the place was run by an egotistical chef. Come to find out, his father was a man who saw no value in others and who berated his son constantly for never being as successful as he was. . . another egomaniac. So the problems of the father drifted down and caused new personal issues for the son who could not take control of any situation. It is amazing the damage poor leadership and self-absorption can do.

Contrast this with the ways of Jesus. If anyone, he had the right to stand strong, be proud, and be the boss. Instead, he humbled himself below everyone else. He was the servant, and in being so led people to a completely new way of life. His way of leadership was healing, not hurtful.

It is such a dangerous responsibility being in leadership. It is a gift and task given to us by God. If you are in any sort of leadership, whether is secular or in the church, this should be humbling and scary. You have been given a chance not to dominate with your power, but to serve others to bring them along in their journey. Everyone leads someone at some point on some level. So start evaluating: are you serving when you lead? Are you in it for yourself, or are you in it for those you lead?

Oh, and by the way.  Once the leadership had a change of heart, every single restaurant turned around.

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