Gordon Ramsay: The Original Conflict Manager?

Open 3Finn Hackshaw

Gordon Ramsay is a world-renowned chef with the successful television show, Kitchen Nightmares. But did you know (much like a hipster) Ramsay was a conflict manager before it was cool?

To sum it up unartfully, in Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay travels to struggling restaurants and helps the owners and staff turn things around. Maybe it just makes for good television, but it seems like every episode involves some drama surrounding family relationships, abrasive leadership, or insubordinate employees.

Sure, the show is entertaining, but if we look past the surface entertainment, Ramsay’s conflict assistance can be categorized one of two ways: performance or conduct based. Ramsay helps the restaurateurs change the menu, expedite the food, manage the restaurant image, and so on. Ramsay has also been known to provide the business with a consulting chef to train the old kitchen team.

For fans of the show, think about how Ramsay handles situations with intense conflict. If you haven’t seen the show, I’ll clue you in. Ramsay frequently uses a combination of group facilitation and one-on-one “coachings” to brainstorm new ideas, resolve restaurant problems, and bring issues to light to restore effective communication.

When it comes to abrasive employees, Ramsay encourages the restaurant leader to hold the employee accountable to conduct standards. In one episode, Ramsay refers a drug-addicted employee to support group meetings and treatment. When the owner is unwilling or unmotivated to change, Ramsay grounds him or her with a tough reality check. He inspires owners and staff with vision of how implementing changes will help achieve business, quality, and life goals. You name it, Ramsay seems to have a strategy to confront it.

Think of your most recent workplace conflict. Whatever it is, I can almost guarantee that it, or one very similar to it, has been captured on an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. I wonder how Ramsay would handle your situation?

Granted, I don’t think most conflict management professionals advocate the level of cussing or yelling that Ramsay employs. But hey, he’s a chef and an entertainer. Being the OG of conflict management professionals is secondary.

Much like Gordon Ramsay, I enjoy customizing conflict management strategies. Unfortunately (and my wife can confirm this), that’s where the similarities end! So no five-star meals in our house. But seriously, I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. Although conflict can be categorized and the solutions can be modeled off one another, different strategies must be tailored to fit your individual needs.

Check back in later because I’ll be sharing my step-by-step method to customize your very own workplace conflict management strategies. Continue checking in for other articles and free stuff. My website goes live very soon, so stay tuned for updates there, as well.

Please comment or message me to share thoughts and experiences. My goal is bring value to my readers and clients by bringing ONLY the most innovative business professionals together, so we can build strategies to . . .

  • eliminate workplace conflict,
  • reduce the negative dollars-and-cents costs of disputes, and
  • rebuild culture, leadership, and productivity.

Now, go check out Kitchen Nightmares, and don’t forget to watch for the conflict management strategy of the day!

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