Chef – Who do you blame?

responsibilityBy Martin Probst, Learning & Development Whiz at Leading Chef Academy

Fact is that most chefs do NOT take responsibility for their own actions. While they are good at putting up their hands to receive praise, they really struggle to take responsibility for the things that didn’t turn out well.

In this blog you will learn why chefs at “effect” will struggle to earn trust and respect, whilst those choosing to be at “cause” will quickly move into leading chef positions with the recognition they deserve.

First of all, let’s examine the word responsibility. “Response” and “ability” clearly indicate that we have the ability to response in our own way. Independent and successful chefs use the power to choose their response wisely and cause things to happen in their favor. There is no blame attached to anything or anyone, even if these independent chefs fail to achieve a desired outcome, they will find other ways to take responsibility until they get what they need, want and desire.

This concept of taking responsibility can be difficult to swallow for many chefs, as it is so much easier to point the finger at others and blame somebody else. By the way, did you notice that if you point your finger at somebody else, that there are three fingers pointing back at you? What a beautiful metaphor, and I am sure you’re also familiar with the saying “The fish starts to stink from its head”.

The below overview gives you an indication of whether you currently are “at cause” and independent, or rather “at effect” and dependent.

Cause and effect

Which area do you most identify yourself with? Do you feel like the victim, or can you see clear solutions? Ask yourself: How often do you use words like stuck, failure or problems? How often do you make excuses, judge or blame others because of the fear of failure you feel within you? How often do you procrastinate in your chef’s office not knowing how to earn trust and what to do next, feeling hopeless?

The “at effect” state of mind is the reason for being dependant on others. You miss out on opportunities and success. It holds you back and shrinks your comfort zone to a point that the slightest changes at work can lead to overwhelm and anxiety. If you are in this situation, you have to take action right now.

Taking 100% responsibility involves not assigning blame for the current state or level of your position or personal life. It is about choosing how you are responding to the issues you face as a chef, and empowering and trusting yourself to respond in a way that improves the situation, process and outcome.

For example, somebody “at effect” would powerlessly say:

  • “There is nothing I can do to earn my team’s trust”
  • “Why me? Why do I have a thankless job like this when others are happy in theirs?”
  • “It is not my fault that my brigade is overworked. I didn’t ask for it to be this way.”


Being “at cause”

As opposed to the seemingly choice-less phrases before mentioned, a person “at cause” would say:

  • “Although I don’t like this current situation, I am determined to find a way to turn it around!”
  • “The craziness of my current position is what it is, but changes are up to me and I have the means to appropriately deal with it.”
  • “Let’s look at what other alternatives we have.”

Yes, contrary to what you may currently believe, you have all the means (or resources) you need to create your own success. Nobody other than you is responsible for the transformation you seek. If you believe that somebody will create your success (or be responsible for the lack of it) then you are completely dependent and it’s time to make that paradigm shift to independence by changing your language and by starting to cause things to happen for you and your hospitality success. It is you and only you that can make that move to independency!

If the above “at effect” examples even partially describe you, create your transformation right now. Not when you feel like it, not when it is convenient, but starting right this moment! This might sound pushy or even aggressive to you, but it’s not. It is value driven and needed in order to make the paradigm shift to move to above-the-line with your thinking.

  • Understanding that there is no Failure, only Feedback
  • Focusing on Solutions (ask yourself “How” & “What”) rather than wasting time on the Problems (avoid “Why” questions)
  • Taking action and therefore feeling courage, as opposed to procrastinating and feeding the fear
  • Focusing on achieving results rather than looking for excuses
  • Becoming the hero rather than being the victim

Once you truly grasp and implement those points, then you will start to thrive with your kitchen brigade and earn the trust and respect from everybody around you! You are no longer hiding – YOU are taking full responsibility for your actions and outcomes. You are finally calling the shots…

Out of my own experience I understand that this can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially as over the years pointing fingers towards others has often become our comfort zone. Here is the thing though; until a person can deeply and honestly admit that what there are today is because of the choices they have or have not made in the past, they cannot choose otherwise!

How inspiring does that sound to you?

Gaining Trust and Respect Get the Foundation right 3D coverGaining Trust and Respect Plan Ahead 3D cover

If you like to get the full insights on this topic and how you are
from you brigade as well as you managers,
then click here.



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By Martin Probst

In a nutshell, Martin Probst is the Managing Director of LEADING CHEF ACADEMY. He is not interested in teaching you how to suck eggs and is convinced that you are a top banana if it comes to your cooking ability. His mission is to add to your existing kitchen experience a blend of innovative LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT & ORGANISATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS skills, so you can taste the success you deserve for all the hard work you put into your career over the years. His vision is to connect modern chefs around the globe and take them to the next level with our online education & training solutions.

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