I can’t cook, but I can chop a mean carrot.

You only need to ask my two sons (now in their 20’s). They survived gut aches, first-world starvation after my inedible ‘secret’ recipes, and a lack of sandwich-swapping ability all through their schooling years. The thing is, I’m a really bad cook.

In fact my defunct culinary skills go further than my own flesh and blood. As a school principal my colleagues used to ask which brand I used for the morning tea muffins I had ‘baked’ for them.

To add salt into the wound, my mother was a home-economics teacher! 

So despite the many lessons in my youth, I still suck at cooking. 

I do however appreciate people who can create mouth-salivating goodness. When visiting anyone I have learned to play to my strengths. I can slice, dice, scrub and wash a mean dish. If I am hosting, I will seek support from someone in the ‘know’ (aka pay for it!). It’s about playing to our strengths and optimising those of others. This is also true for any leader.


Collaboration is key. When we collaborate (in an equitable manner), 

we optimise skills and passions so people can bring and be their best. 


When people speak about their strengths and passions, they also reveal areas for development. Without stating it directly, they become vulnerable to others in a safe way. This is not something to be feared. Dr Brene’ Brown states,


“Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives.” “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change” (2018).


Also, if you are leading change, leveraging what people are doing well (or stronger in) is the best place to start. That way they feel valued and you are able to support them towards ‘quick-wins’ with some minor tweaks. 


Your job is to be a gold-digger. 

Seek the gold within those you lead and leverage to grow them.


Once people recognise your intent is to acknowledge and support them to grow, they will give you their trust, and in return allow you to see their vulnerabilities. If however you get all nit-picky on them, they will make like a venus flytrap and close up shop or quite frankly eat you whole (figuratively). So the trick is to remain consistent in your approach.

This week I encourage you to have an attitude of gratitude with your colleagues. Seek their strengths and encourage them to let their gold shine.

Oh and I’ve also signed up for a cooking class…wish me luck!

Lastly, I dare you…


I can't cook but I can chop a mean carrot

And for those of you for whom sleep in this heat is a challenge….

Love this!

1:1 Coaching for Leaders

Are you in a leader looking to level up you skills to enhance yourself and your team?

I’ve got 3 and 12 month 1:1 coaching sessions available. Want to know more… check out the Coaching for Leaders page or book a Discovery Call here to talk about how we can work together to empower your leadership skills.

MA :)

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Contact Mary-Anne

I want to help you and your organisation shift your sh*t.
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