Leadership can be defined as the ability of an individual to influence a certain course of events. Various characteristics of a person are figured out as the person champions for a given course. General leadership abilities or traits often guide a person towards achieving what he or she is championing.
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We have witnessed different people in different industries who have been termed as outstanding leaders because of the excellent work they have accomplished, and the manner in which they have been able to do it. An example of such leaders is Jamie Oliver who has brought about many changes in the industry (Gogerly, 2010).
Jamie Oliver was born in the year 1975 in United Kingdom. He has become extremely phenomenal in the global food industry. His passion for the food industry began in the early stages of his life, aping from his parents who were running several restaurants. He ended up taking catering courses in college in UK. He began by helping the chefs in the restaurants of his parents. He was so passionate about food and eating habits (Gogerly, 2010).
While Oliver was in college, he underwent an apprenticeship program which gave him a perfect opportunity to interact with all time’s renowned chefs who continued to inspire him. This guided him in working towards promoting the food industry in the world. Oliver has managed to combine different characters in building the food industry in the world.
Oliver has been combined different professions and integrated them in developing the food industry. Oliver has had outstanding achievements, which have led him to be recognized and rewarded by different agencies. Many people argue that Oliver is an accomplished leader and an icon in as far as the food industry is concerned.
Therefore, this paper discusses the leadership qualities of Jamie Oliver (Gogerly, 2010). The paper looks into the activities and initiatives of Oliver in the food and catering industry. Through an incisive look into his activities and initiatives, the paper derives qualities of leadership which can be attributed to Oliver.
Jamie Oliver as a social entrepreneur
It is no doubt that Jamie Oliver is a successful leader within the hospitality and catering industry. Oliver had entrepreneurship skills during his youth age. However, these skills alone cannot be a basis on which a person can be termed as a good leader. Oliver had a solid grasp of entrepreneurship skills having learnt them from a young age because his parents were entrepreneurs.
Being a young entrepreneur, Oliver has been a manager to up 15 restaurants in the United States and the United Kingdom. The restaurants have picked up well and are performing excellently, courtesy of the plans and products. This portrays him as very sound economic entrepreneur and a robust business leader. In this case, he can plan well on a venture before putting it up and later making it sustainable.
Moreover, the pace at which he has put businesses in more than one country leaves entrepreneurs who have been in the field for long with shock. He has a strong mastery of the market and the exact requirements of the customers to be his businesses end up matching the needs of the customers (Joanne & Steve, 2010).
Succeeding in business will often need a dependable mastery of the environment under which one is operating his businesses. One must interact well with the society, and this requires a person to understand essential social entrepreneurship skills. This is one area in which Oliver has been remarkably outstanding.
Indeed, Oliver is not only an economic entrepreneur but also a social entrepreneur. Social entrepreneurship is explained on the basis on which a person can use his business skills in reaching different people and performing different activities. The activities must agree with the objectives, and this must end up benefiting a greater audience in society.
Oliver is well known in US and UK for his tremendous efforts to improve the quality of food that is served in these two countries. This has been a move to address the problem of unhealthy diets, which has become a matter of concern for most of people residing in these countries.
These countries record the highest number of maladies which result from unhealthy diets and unhealthy eating habits. He had been able to move in different places within the two countries, including schools and colleges, speaking about healthy diets. He has been convincing these institutions to change or adjust their diets.
He has even taken the step of drafting diet for the institutions. This is a true picture of a leader; that is, not just being an economic champion, but also caring for the society by taking an active part in crafting solutions to societal problems using one’s own means. It is worthwhile saying that Oliver is a true social entrepreneur (Joanne & Steve, 2010).
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Responsibility and creativity in leadership
Leaders are people who figure out problems that are affecting people in the industry in which they are occupied. After noting the problems, they then go ahead to think of the contribution they can make in eliminating or mitigating these problems. Being an investor and a leading advocate of hospitality and catering industry, Oliver saw a bright future for the industry.
However, he noted that many people were being negatively affected because of the loopholes in the industry. He noted that he always takes matters to do with food and diet with the seriousness it deserves. This is because food and diet are things that have a direct effect on human lives.
The problems in the hotel and catering industry have become a crucial concern for him and his business. He has chosen to dedicate most of his time in addressing the challenges. The most notable problems in the industry are the diseases related to diet, which are highly prevalent in the developed nations.
Jamie has visited a number of countries among them Australia, United States, UK, Netherlands and Germany. Obesity levels in these countries are on the rise. His investigation has revealed that the cause of this is food and diet, that is, poor cooking skills, cheap and poorly processed food among others (Oliver, 2010).
He believes that these problems can be addressed by the stakeholders in the industry. Being one of the stakeholders in the food industry, he has taken the initiative and responsibility to disburse skills and knowledge which is one sure way of combating the problem. He has a strong belief in this course.
Having initiated this course, he has been calling for support from what he believes are the main participants in the industry including the government, consumers and even food retailers. He believes that collective efforts will lead to the elimination of the dangers and the dilemma in the food industry.
He emphasizes on setting a foundation in dealing with the challenge, that is, food education for children, as well as adults. Through this discussion, we can note a number of characters or qualities of leadership which is responsibility, creativity and initiative (Oliver, 2010).
Going out of way in initiating
The other aspect of leadership that is attributed to Jamie Oliver, and which any person who is talking about the revolution in the food industry cannot afford to ignore is the street kitchen. The idea behind this was something that many people thought would not work. He strongly believed in the idea and forged ahead to put it into practice.
He availed everything and launched the street kitchen which came as a surprise to many people. The kitchen was situated in the open air and at the center of the street where he had many chefs offering training of food and catering. He is a person who believes that everything can be possible so long as it is worked.
The street kitchen came to get a lot of publicity, thus drawing attention from many publics. People visited the place and were trained on preparing healthy food. The street kitchen was another significant milestone for Oliver in the training program series, which he had initiated. Thousands of people were trained through the street kitchen program (Oliver, 2010).
How Jamie Engaged Audiences
Another trait of Jamie Oliver is that he is a natural and instinctive person, which is what a leader has to be. Leaders need to engage audiences and make them attentive to what they are saying or advocating. While many leaders find it extremely challenging to gain the attention of audiences, this is what Oliver finds very easy to do.
He is particularly energetic especially when addressing and audience. He is always exciting to watch when he is in action. For Oliver, he considers leadership to be an activity and not just a position as many people would take it. This stands to justify his energy and activeness when he is doing his work.
People will always want to see the people who are leading being fully dedicated to the work they are overseeing. This is one of the aspects which Oliver has mastered exceptionally well, and this helps him in drawing many people closer to him. His kitchen and training series always attract bigger crowds, thanks to his ability to attract the learners.
Leaders must attract people to them, and this cannot be achieved by virtue of being in an influential position and posing to be a boss, but reaching out to people through activity and interaction. The audiences are engaged by the inspiration which they get from the leader (Joanne & Steve, 2010).
Determination and vision in leadership
The current business environment is immensely challenging which calls for determination. One needs to have a lot of determination in order to overcome these challenges. Determination is the ability to be resilient and being quick to develop options for dealing with a given drawback and keeping a course on track.
Challenges are the true taste of the leadership abilities of a person. It is what gets to define determination and commitment of a given person in what he or she is doing (Joanne & Steve, 2010). A leader has to have a bigger vision by not only focusing on the current performance of his or her ventures but also being able to see the bigger picture.
The leader must see the opportunities of using his ventures to develop other sectors in the economy. While Oliver has managed to make a lot of wealth from his restaurant business as an entrepreneur, he has not concentrated on developing his business.
He has devoted a considerable amount of time to invest in other opportunities, which are transforming the lives of other people through his training lessons and many other activities. He has published and distributed many cook books. These books have training lessons, which are particularly helpful to the users. He also has Television shows, which help him in imparting food and cooking knowledge on a larger audience (Stephen, 2010).
Leadership and charity
Oliver is charitable, and he has been listed among the group of the most charitable people in the United Kingdom. He has a personal fortune of approximately 65 million pounds. Of this, Oliver has given away with about 2.7 million pounds, which represents about 4.2 per cent of his total fortune.
He has invested a lot of time, energy and effort in doing charity work. He has been offering training lessons in different countries. He has formed many charity networks. As such, he works with one of the largest food chains in the United Kingdom known as Sainsbury’s in supporting the improvement of the quality of food being offered in restaurants. He also uses the opportunity in enhancing consumer education.
His tireless efforts and dedication have been noticed. He has received a number of rewards, including the MBE, which he was awarded in the year 2003. This is one of the top prices or awards in the United Kingdom. He was given this award for being a key contributor in the food and hospitality industry in the whole world. Being discovered and awarded such a significant price at such a tender age is a rare phenomenon.
He decided to include and make charity work part of his greater business plan in the early stages of his entrepreneurship from the year 2001. Since then, he has been a leading supporter of charity work. Charity work, on the other hand, works to enhance his business (Peggy, 2011).
One of the greatest charitable works of Oliver is his social program whose main aim has been to transform the lives of the poor young people. He has been working to ensure that the young people engulfed in poverty get education and employment. These are aspects that are critical building blocks in eliminating poverty.
Through the program, he built a restaurant called “Fifteen”. This is a restaurant that has been dedicated to young people. The young people are trained here in courses like catering and food handling. The training gives them an opportunity to be absorbed in the food industry. The profits that are realized from the operation of the restaurant are used in the Fifteen Foundation. This foundation has moved outside the United Kingdom and is now established in several other countries like Netherlands and Australia (Peggy, 2011).
Through the Fifteen Foundation and its related programs and projects, Oliver has managed to expand his social course. His utmost passion, which is love for food, has been realized through the program. He now uses the program in transforming the lives of many people using his passion for food (Clifton & Ahmad, 2009).
As his charity work continues to take root in different destinations, Oliver has become a lobbyist. He confronts authorities and urges them to support positive initiatives. He challenges the political classes to know and begin backing schemes whose objectives are improving health and the general wellbeing of the population. Through his lobbying activities, he formed a campaign which has come to be known as Jamie’s School Dinners.
He used this campaign for inspiring school kids to enjoy taking healthy meals rather than taking processed food, which is unhealthy. This campaign involves offering training lessons to chefs and dinner ladies on how to prepare healthy meals and budgeting for such meals. This campaign has been preceded with many other campaigns for instance the Jamie’s Ministry Food.
Under this campaign, he introduced healthy eating habits to the working class population in UK cities. Food policy had not been a highly topical issue in the Kingdom until the later years of the 20th century. This is when most of conditions related to food stated to become prevalent.
Attention began being paid to the food policy in order to control the cases. This led to a focus on diet and food safety. Oliver came in at this point with his campaigns, which had best suited solutions to the turmoil that was being experienced in the food industry. Through his lobbyist activities and continued campaign, the government recognized the School Dinners and incorporated them in the food policy (Butler, 2011).
It is worth saying that all the given campaigns, which were started and run by Oliver, have been successful. Their objectives were fulfilled because they managed to educate the population, and pressurized the political class and the monopolistic entrepreneurs in the food and catering industry to make substantial changes.
These changes have been tremendously helpful in improving the health of the population. Its impacts have been more visible with the stepping up of the public and backing the campaign through changing eating habits and lifestyles. This is what is expressed in the eating values that inform Jamie’s campaigns. At the pick of the school dinner campaign, Oliver managed to lobby for about a quarter a million signatures.
These signatures helped in petitioning the government forcing it to release 280 million pounds, which has been used for enhancing the quality of meals that are served in schools. The Ministry campaign has become the main driver in reducing cases of obesity. It has encouraged healthy recipes in family diets. Oliver was a thought leader, who did not only come up with ideas but also coded these ideas into activities and programs for easy execution (Butler, 2011).
A leader must be ready to do outstanding things. Jamie has identified with disabilities in society. As a corporate person, he rolled out the programs for people with physical disabilities in his restaurants. Under this program, he identifies and selects people with disabilities who undergo training after which they are absorbed in his restaurants. This has been one of his most successful programs which have attracted unusually many people to his restaurant.
Many people have applauded this program. Oliver has found a lot of favor with a significant number of customers. This is because of this program, which is likely to continue being a success factor for his business. A leader must be a person who can see potential in trouble. Many leaders have been witnessed, but it is rare to come across a leader like Oliver.
Oliver has had a gift in articulating between different problem setups and yet he manages to craft a solution to nearly all using a single motivation – his passion. He also does not take advantage of situations as many leaders who are entrepreneurs do. He keeps focus so long as his main objectives are being achieved (Asmita, 2008, Hellmich, 2011).
Good leadership entails a superb mastery of communication. A leader must be an excellent master of communication skills, which are useful in driving activities. Oliver uses communication to reach a large number of people. His television show has drawn lots of audiences. He uses his television shows to speak and critique the ills in the food industry. He is remarkably open in discussing issues of a healthy lifestyle (Lisa, 2008).
Leaders can only be leaders when other people can identify and recognize their work or efforts. Jamie Oliver is such a person. His work was extremely outstanding making even the government recognizes it. His campaigns were fruitful. Therefore, the government requested him to come forth and help in advancing the food manifesto in the UK.
The government borrowed a lot from his manifesto and used it in crafting good food policy for schools in the UK. Most of the recommendations made in the manifesto were big milestones in the food policy. The secretary of state for education invited Oliver to help in shedding light on the way forward for the school diet programs (Hellmich, 2011).
Good communication in leadership
Oliver has ensured that he clearly leads his team of employees. He guides the team on what the expectations are, and he articulates well with employees. He communicates his vision to the group and leads the team in implementing the objectives in relation to the vision. He is always exemplary to his staffs, and he always leads the way in implementing programs. He exercises a high level of responsibility by leading and demonstrating all the initiatives.
Leadership is tested when a person is placed within a group context. Jamie has always been working with groups. He has been so efficient in managing teams to bring about change which he desired. He initiated and developed good working relations with different schools and school children who came to like him. This led to their support for a healthy diet as was being proposed by him (Tania, 2010).
From the discussion above, it is quite evident that Jamie Oliver has been a successful leader. Oliver acquired catering skills from his parents, and has applied the skills in creating an empire. He has been a major driver in bringing the desired change in the catering and food industry in the world.
Through what he has been doing, a number of character traits of Oliver have been highlighted. These include determination, responsibility, creativity, initiative among many other management skills. These characteristics have brought Oliver out as a true leader.
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