empowering others

The first day we opened the people were asking for lunch, so we quickly put together a lunch menu and went with it. In 2005 when we expanded to take the spot next door, doubling our size, we voted at the dinner table on what to serve and landed on Mexican food. In 2006 when I went on a much needed first vacation in 7 years with the kids to visit my family is Spain, James was inspired to fill our often empty morning restaurant by serving breakfast. The evolution of our brand has been such that we have really outgrown our original location, but are still making it work. We have added equipment and reconfigured multiple times, working to find the best way to serve the guests that line up for our food, but there remain limitations.

We have 2 order stations, with the cooks flipping omelettes right behind the cashiers. We train our managers and supervisors to always check in with the lead chef on duty before opening the second order station. This is how we empower our people to make the decisions that affect them and our business on a daily basis. It would be easy for a manager or boss to say, “Well, I am the boss, I know what needs to be done, do it and thats that.” and in my earlier leadership journey that was me, but luckily I quickly learned that this approach is not well received by any except the non thinkers. This may be needed in some situations, like when safety is an issue, but if you are in the business of growing people and attracting self starters (which is the best way to grow your business) this is a method to eliminate from your diet.

It used to drive my daughter crazy when she would hear me say “Hey honey, would it be okay with you if I went shopping with my sister this Thursday night?” She would get upset with me, “Why are you asking his permission?! Be strong! Do what you want!” she would say. I would explain to her that I was not asking permission, but being courteous and giving him the respect he had earned and deserved as my partner in parenting, work, and life. This would fall on deaf ears with her because of where she was in her life and growth. I share this example with my leaders to help them understand the power of humility and empathy when working with your team.

As my daughter is navigating relationships now as an adult, the early lessons that she rejected come back as valuable tools she can use to help understand the different perspectives and world views of the people she is working and growing with. Empowering others is one of the biggest gifts you can give. With your kids, your employees, your spouse, coming to each interaction with sincerity and a true openness to their point of view is the most important leadership skill you can develop.