Think about a bowl of plain rice. The taste, preparation, and even the colour of rice couldn’t be more basic, and it’s probably not your first choice of a satisfying meal. However, there are so many popular dishes that just aren’t complete without rice, from stir fries and curry to grilled chilli lobster. Both the rice and the “main” dish elevate each other, and one wouldn’t be complete without the other. So, what does this have to do with leadership? On the surface, rice may seem to have no relation to leadership (unless you’re a rice company), but in reality, it couldn’t be more relevant.
Think of a leader as a plain, basic bowl of rice. In this scenario, the leader’s team would be the main dishes – the stir fries, curries, chicken, and soups. If the leader (the rice) didn’t have their team (the main dishes) beside them, they would have no appeal or value. Therefore, as a leader you are nothing without your team, and similarly, your team needs you to bring out the best in them.
When we talk about leaders, we don’t just mean CEOs and managers. We’re also talking about parents, educators, coaches, pet owners, and even the co-worker that knows how to fix the printer. Whether you’re a team leader or the friend who books dinner reservations for your group, you can make a big difference in the lives of those around you. There is leader potential in all of us; sometimes, we just don’t realise it. Regardless of what kind of leader you are, our message remains the same – a leader is like a bowl of rice.
We mentioned before how the colour of rice, white, couldn’t be more basic. However, for leaders, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What other colour clashes with white? None of them. As a plain, unpretentious shade, white has the ability to complement every colour and bring out a new side of each colour. As leaders, this is what we hope to achieve with our team – to be uncompetitive, never overshadow others, and bring out the best in the people around us.
This is what One Bowl of Rice is all about. We see rice as a constant reminder of what we should be doing as leaders. We want to uplift the people around us and connect with others. We should treat everyone equally, regardless of their job title, background, gender or ethnicity. Whether we demonstrate leadership in the workplace or in our friend groups, we must remember that we are not here to order others around, but to strengthen and uplift each other, every day.