Food For Thought: A Creative Way to Stop Bullying and Extremism
Are you under attack by a bully or an extremist and don’t know how to react? The feeling of hysteria and rejection could be overwhelming, but you need to stop for a moment, think for yourself, and find a way to take control.
You can begin to correct the situation with the bully by first keeping the relationship between you and the bully professional. Imagine you are running a business, such as a restaurant, and you are the head cook. You will be interacting with other employees, such as the manager of the restaurant, servers and hosts, as well as the bully or extremist.
As head cook, you are responsible for creating new dishes to be served to restaurant customers, training cooks how to prepare dishes, encouraging creativity and food experimentation, and inspiring other cooks with new recipe ideas. Now, let’s discover a recipe that will enable you and the extremist to work together creating a tasteful dish of equality. This recipe will be the basic steps to countering bullying and extremism amongst people of different cultures and origins. It will be an essential tool to creating your bully-relationship masterpiece.
Are you ready to cook?
Create your own recipe
Bullies are sometimes charismatic and are capable of influencing others’ opinions and thoughts. As one of the bully’s targets, you do not want the bully to have that kind of control over your mind. Simply, don’t believe everything you’re fed by the bully. Insults are not always easy to swallow or ignore, but the hysteria that the bully creates in the workplace can be even more detrimental to your emotional well-being. If you think the bully is cooking up alot of unwanted extremist frenzy and feeding you alot of crap, tell them so. You don’t always have to take a complacent approach to countering bullying. Speak up for yourself. Ask questions and demand answers. Do not let the hysteria simmer in the pot. Get it off the stove, as soon as possible, and throw the bully’s ideas in the garbage if they are destructive.
Create your own recipe, give it enough time to fully cook, and then let everyone taste the new dish and discuss ways the recipe can be tweaked or improved. Feel free to experiment with different recipe ideas.
If it’s too late and the bully’s dish of frenzy has been served and people are buying it, find ways to slowly replace the hysteria with your new recipe idea and discussions. Hold meetings with coworkers to teach them how to cook your new recipe and inspire them to develop their own recipes and conduct taste testings. This will create more open communication amongst your fellow coworkers and enlighten the environment. People will be talking about their new recipes and not each other, and holding taste tastings will add fun to the job. It’s always good when your career is more like a hobby, because then it doesn’t really feel like work.
Teach Others How to Cook
Keep your eye on how the bully interacts with other employees. Often times a bully’s presence and ideas dominate the workplace. Transformation from a bully-dominated, extremist workplace to a more open environment requires team building. Think of team building activities that you and your coworkers will enjoy doing together. Consider having meetings to discuss new recipe and food experimentation ideas, and hold taste testing sessions.
While at work, if you notice tension between the bully and another employee, interrupt with a notification that you will be holding a taste testing session soon and will be expecting input on your new recipe. You might even want to hold the bully responsible for creating a new recipe to be tested at the session. The bully will then focus his attention on the development of the new recipe and not the subordinate coworker.
Be willing to teach others, as well as the bully, how to cook (i.e. how to think for themselves, enabling them to create and discover new recipes, new ways of cooking and new ideas). After holding a taste testing session for a new recipe you created, you might be confronted by a coworker that wants to join in and be creative with recipes, but doesn’t know where to begin. Take this individual under your wing and teach them the basics of cooking and what well-known herb and spice pairings taste good together. Once the individual knows the basics of cooking, she will be able to devote more free time to learning about, testing and executing recipes at home or in food experimentation meetings and taste testing sessions with other coworkers.
Encourage Creativity with Cooking
Hold basic cooking classes, experiments and taste testings on a regular basis, possibly monthly or quarterly cooking sessions. Invite everybody to discuss ideas and develop a new recipe together. If the class is a bigger class, create coworker pairings and see what each group executes. As an observer of the class, you might even find similarities in tastes of different cooks and eventually, they will favor each other and work together more often to improve their favorite recipes or develop new recipe ideas, however, it’s always good to have cook pairings with different tastes. You may even want to encourage the creation of cook pairings with different tastes, because these pairings are more likely to lead to a new discovery. Cooks with different tastes might find that they blend well together and create a unique new recipe or a twist on an old dish. Find ways to inspire them to experiment with their tastes and discover new recipe ideas.
Give cooks the authority to hold cooking sessions and teach each other different cooking styles. This will create an environment where open communication is supported by a free flow of knowledge and ideas. You might even consider booking a cooking class with an outside source that will teach your cooks new ways of thinking about food and recipe development, as well as the latest food trends.
Share New Recipes and Ideas
Communication is key to the success of a team, team building and teamwork. Enhance your team’s communication about recipe discovery by holding members responsible for presenting and sharing new recipe ideas. You don’t want any of your employees to be in the dark about a new dish that might be served on the menu in the near future. Invite everybody in the restaurant to attend the new recipe presentation. Sharing this information will not only keep all of the workers informed, but it will allow them to give feedback about the new recipe, whether it’s a recipe improvement or the future demand for this dish if it were on the menu. Afterwards, extend an invitation to the cooks to attend a training class on how to execute the recipe and perform tweaks to the new creation.
Never exclude yourself from presentations and always give cooks your feedback. This is essential to being a good cooking role model and your feedback will ensure your cooks that you acknowledged their work and support their progress. As head cook, you are obligated to present new food and recipe ideas as well. Afterall, it is your responsibility to encourage creativity and inspire other cooks to develop new recipe ideas. Be open to recipe improvements and don’t get angry or discouraged if a cook doesn’t like your recipe or if the restaurant votes to not have the new dish on the menu due to low demand for it. Instead, ask how the recipe can be improved and possibly in the future you could tweak the recipe and add the dish back to the menu. Most importantly, we hope that your coworkers will begin to inspire each other, as well as you, to be a better cook with fresh ideas.