The notion of avoidance objectives, things one should strive to not do, can be a useful and powerful one, and the Fox reality series “Hell’s Kitchen” provides as graphic an example of how not to be an engaging leader as you will ever hope to see. (True confession: yes, watching it is one of my guilty pleasures.)
In each episode, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay gives a master class in how a simple recipe of his ego and narcissism can turn two teams of culinary professionals from eager, would-be protégés to beaten down, emotionally desiccated husks.
And while I know that the particulars of life in a restaurant kitchen are very different from what is found in most work places, the dynamic of Hell’s Kitchen, where you can see the engagement levels dropping each time Ramsay feels the need to work out his daddy issues on the contestants, is all too familiar.
Granted, this is an unusual recommendation, but give the show a look. And while you’re at it, ask yourself: “Do I ever demonstrate any Ramsay-like behaviors on the job?” You may be surprised—and therefore horrified—at the answer.