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Today’s business environment is more global than ever. Leaders must be able to collaborate with people from many different walks of life, and sitting down to dinner is a great way to share ideas and cultures. However, the concept of what is delicious can vary from person to person, and courage might be needed to try certain meals.
While certain foods may be a delicacy in one part of the world, visitors from another region may not have the courage to try the dish. Deep-fried tarantulas are a popular snack in Cambodia. Would you give them a try? Locals say they taste a little like crab. Or what about a giant sea squirt? Found in the ocean near Chile, these massive creatures are served with lemon juice. Look up a picture of one of these sea giants and see if you are brave enough to eat it!
While much is known about food sharing between mothers and their babies, the benefits for adults are more unclear. Sharing food with others is an important aspect of resource sharing, but there are also social aspects. Sharing food can improve the emotional state for someone else, which can make you feel better, too (Alley, 2014).
If you expect to be a global leader in your industry, you will invariably travel and meet with people from many other parts of the world. Even if you may never have heard of a particular food, you never want to offend your hosts. Trying things that may seem repugnant to you may require courage, but try to open your mind to
Ways to expand your culinary horizon:
Instead of feeling anxious and afraid of trying new foods, pull your courage out from the deep part of you and be adventurous. Leaders who are agile in other aspects of their life will bring this agility to their leadership style.
The gentle art of gastronomy is a friendly one. It hurdles the language barrier, makes friends among civilized people, and warms the heart.
Food has a strange way of helping us communicate. Even if you can’t say a word in another language, food transcends the need for words to get a message across. A good meal with a tasty beverage can bring happiness to nearly anyone. As a leader, cultivating relationships is important, and one of the best ways to say ‘Hello!’ is with something great to eat.
Developing leadership skills is much like developing culinary skills. It takes dedication, hours and hours of practical experience and the correct tools. The can give you the tools to fuel coordination across ever-changing boundaries, to collaborate in the moment, and to overcome the FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) response of our amygdala.
Neuroscience is showing us that we can recondition our amygdala so that it only alerts us to real threats - not the exotic food on your plate. Leaders with a high level of collaboration will be caring and courageous and will experience improved relations at work and in their personal lives. So, grab your fork and try a bite of something new, both in the culinary and leadership sense!
Alley, T. R. (2014). Food sharing and empathic emotion regulation: an evolutionary perspective.Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 121. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00121
Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.
Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.
Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership
In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.
Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.