Leadership Lessons from the Kitchen: How to Prevent Difficult Communication from Burning Your Fingers

What Can a Pastry Chef Teach Us About Communication?

  1. Let us play with the design first, on our own, on a flipchart (intrapersonal)
  2. Asked us to create designs with a partner first (interpersonal), or
  3. Instructed us to draw the design as a formula (logical).
  1. First, acknowledge the communication error. For example, “I’m sorry, I must have not communicated clearly. Tell me what you understood about what I said, and I can fill in the blanks.”
  2. After acknowledging your communication error, encourage your team member (or student in this case) to ask questions. Create an open environment and be compassionate. Yelling does not open the floor for constructive dialogue!
  3. Once you’ve worked through questions in an open and compassionate way, give your team member a chance to try again. Acknowledge what the person is doing well, in addition to pointing out ways to improve.
  1. Tell them what you are going to show them.
  2. Show them.
  3. Tell them what you showed them.
  4. Ask for questions.



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Center For Human Capital Innovation

Center For Human Capital Innovation


CHCI believes that the skills, capabilities, and well-being of employees are the most integral parts of any organization’s path to long-term success.