Break Down: Follow the Leader

Hosea Rosenberg has been through a lot. Here, he shares four nuggets of wisdom on how to keep leading during a crisis.

A row of small wooden pegs lined up behind a larger wooden peg. Concept of follow the leader.
Here's what works for one Colorado chef and owner. / grispb ©

Hosea Rosenberg (chef-owner of Boulder’s Blackbelly and Santo) has dealt with more than his fair share of mental-health stressors, from losing one of his closest friends to suicide to dealing with his three-year-old daughter’s diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder. Here, he shares four nuggets of wisdom on how to keep leading during a crisis.

Be Thankful

“I have a lot of good things I should be thankful for—I remind myself of that every morning. Work is stressful, but it’s a lot better to come into a job that’s stressful than not have a job and be stressed about that. Be thankful we live in this beautiful place. Be thankful we have the ability to make beautiful food. I just want to think about the good things. It works most of the time.”

Be Present

“I try to make sure everybody around me knows I’m happy to be here. I’m present with them. [When they ask a question,] I look them in the eye and listen. I want to make sure I’m engaged with them. They feel empowered to ask me anything.”

Be Available

“We have a lot of meetings, gatherings with our staff. I’m always telling them, ‘You can always come to me with anything.’ My phone number and email are on the wall. I make sure everybody knows it’s not a bother to call me or text me. You have to check in with your staff. Ask personal questions. Show some interest in them as a person rather than an employee, then they feel more comfortable coming to you with personal matters.”

Be Respectful

“We try to stamp out gossip. When people know other people are talking about them, they’re really scared to share anything personal. We discourage that kind of behavior. We want everyone to feel like they’re respected as people—it doesn’t matter what level they are.”

Take a look at related stories Break Down,” which explores restaurant owners’ responsibility when it comes to employees’ mental health; “Tipping Point,” which explores the impact of the industry’s wage disparities on workers; and “Act Now,” which provides concrete steps you can take to improve the well-being of your entire business. Then email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to


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