Leadership of any capacity is a gift, but with such a gift comes great responsibility and accountability. In Simon Sinek’s (@simonsinek) book, “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t”, he outlines the responsibilities that leaders have to support the growth and sense of safety and security the people they serve
This book had me at the introduction:
Do you recognize a leader in the above passage? Are you fortunate enough to work with someone like that? These leaders support what Sinek calls “the circle of safety” for all people within the organization. Their organization pulls together, supports one another, and builds a culture that defends itself against the external and internal forces that threaten the very security of the organization. The author provides many examples of what happens to organizations that value their people and what happens to those that do not. From the United States Marines, national corporations and global corporations, he provides many examples of how their long-term success is directly related to the culture created by its leadership.
Interestingly, Sinek makes the connection that humans are driven by chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin and it is these very chemicals that drive the leaders and the decisions that they make. Endorphins and dopamine in a leadership capacity can drive growth and progress, but easily work against the organization if the leader becomes driven by the “next” in an attempt to release more of these chemicals at the expense of the organization. In the pursuit of the next dopamine or endorphin hit, leaders lose sight of the factor that supports, growth: ALL people in the organization. Serotonin and Oxytocin are the leadership and feel-good chemicals which make coming together and building relationships possible.
Sinek points out that approximately 80% of workers are dissatisfied with their current job (P. 18), thus it is imperative that leaders within all organizations take note and reflect on how they are contributing to such a staggering number and the impact that this is having on their organization. Sinek makes a valid and strong case as to why providing a safe, secure work environment, reduces the factors that undermine the ability of an organization to thrive.
Perhaps the most important message comes at the very end of the book. Sinek states that leadership does not belong to the “…bastion of those who sit at the top. It is the responsibility of anyone who belongs to the group”. (216).
True leadership isn’t and shouldn’t be placed on one person or the senior management team. This puts too much responsibility on the few and negates the talents of others who are not assigned a formal leadership role. True leaders don’t hide behind their titles. True leaders don’t covet their title in such a way that they feel threatened by recognizing and supporting leadership in people from all aspects of the organization. In fact, the more leaders acknowledge leadership from various people and encourage and support their team, the stronger the leader and the organization becomes.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t is another excellent leadership resource for anyone wishing to expand their understanding of what it means to be an authentic leader. Sinke’s message is simple, care for your people and your people will care for you. It really is that simple.
Click here to view Simon’s inspirational leadership videos on his YouTube channel.