Building relationships and trust with your team are the backbone of strong leadership. But these skills are seldom part of a food safety and quality assurance professionals training. At the 2023 Food Safety Consortium, Jill Stuber and Tia Glave, founders of Catalyst, a food safety consultancy that offers leadership training programs, sat down with Matt Regusci and Francine Shaw, co-hosts of the “Don’t Eat Poop” podcast to discuss strategies leaders can use to build their “human skills” as well as the lack of respect often seen in today’s workplace.
“The technical skills are very important in food safety, and we are consistently building them, but we are missing the human side,” said Glave. One danger of missing this human side is a lack of respect toward team members that translates to high turnover and low productivity.
You have to respect your people, which means saying “Please,” “Thank you,” working alongside them and understanding their unique goals and responsibilities. “If you want someone to work on Black Friday, you may have to work around a track schedule or a baseball schedule,” said Shaw. “If you want them to give up part of their Christmas, maybe you only have two-hour shifts. It is a give and take not a constant take, and leaders have forgotten that.”
One exercise Glave and Stuber use to help new leaders build their human skills is The Three Ps. “It’s all about learning what people are Passionate about Professionally and Personally,” said Stuber. “And we hear from attendees that their people are opening up to them because they started using this process and team members are working more cooperatively with them.”
One of the key frustrations of new leaders is that they feel bogged down by constantly having to deal with the “people stuff.” Welcome to leadership, says Stuber. “People will say to us, ‘I can’t get any work done because it’s all talking with people, and we say, ‘Your job is people now, welcome to the change!’”
Listen to full conversation here: