We have a required class here at the Culinary Institute of America: Interpersonal Communications. It is required because of the feedback given to the school from externship sites all over the world after a study was conducted showing that students are indeed talented and eager to learn–but they lack real leadership skills, and sometimes even social skills like conflict resolution or the ability to work as part of a team. Whoops!

We students like to joke about this class and its utter lack of appeal (trust me–no one wants to sit for three hours talking about feelings or ways to overcome procrastination!) but the information presented actually *is* as important as technique or any recipe memorization.

Works Well With Others

How many remember seeing that phrase on a report card or progress report from grade school or high school? I know I do. I used to just think it meant my teacher was lazy and didn’t really take the time to think about a better compliment for me (surely there were plenty!). But now that I have actually spent some time with my fellow students, I see what a real lack of teamwork can get you–especially in the kitchen. You’ve may or may not have already read one of my previous posts about my displeasure with some of my teammates. As it turns out, I was wrong to think that way. In order to function as a successful kitchen, it is important to stop focusing on the bad of the individual and start focusing on the good of the team. As cliche as it sounds, you are only as strong as your weakest link!

What The Hell Is Emotional IQ?

Another hot topic amongst IPC (you get it) students is Emotional IQ. They give us all kinds of tests here, ranging from the Jung Typology test (you remember that test that shows your personality? I am an ESTP in case anyone is wondering–along with 2% of CIA students) to the EQ test. Your EQ is how well you understand and can sympathize with others–for example, when a chef understands and can communicate with each person on the line and their specific needs/wants. They amazing part of the Jung typology test, is seeing how everyone in our class scores and then applying their results to their kitchen personality. Mine nailed me to a T! The importance of these tests, which should not be overlooked, is that they allow for better understanding and communication between employees. For example, I wouldn’t assign a leadership role to a Perceiving type the same way I would assign one to a Thinking type, simply because most perceivers don’t want the responsibility.

Tell me what you guys think, and try out the tests for yourselves. You may just be surprised at what you find!

www.humanmetrics.com, http://literacyworks.org/mi/assessment/findyourstrengths.html, http://www.ihhp.com/testsite.htm

ENJOY.