My Golden Nuggets from Simon Sinek’s book of Leaders Eat Last

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Difference between good leaders and great leaders

Leadership is a skill, can be learned and practiced. Leaders don’t consider themselves experts, they consider themselves students and act like it.

Good Leader is someone who is learning and is practicing, implementing what they learned around them.

A Great Leader: 

  • Well practiced and really understand prioritizing the needs of others around them more than themselves. 
  • Great leaders are willing to run head first into the unknown, into the dangerous. They have constant hunger to improve themselves, like a parent. You will never be an expert at parenting but you can always improve more and more. 
  • They don’t think of their rank as something they have achieved but rather as a stepping stone for learning more about themselves and others around them.

How to inspire greatness in just yourself but also around you?

There is power of environment, when we get the environment right, people around you and rise to greatness.

We are social animals, and we draw our happiness from our relationships. If you put people in good, safe and nourishing environments, we will naturally get trust and cooperation from the people in those environments. Trust and Cooperation are feelings and they are not instructions like you cannot tell someone to trust the leader, its different than feeling like you want to trust because you feel safe.

And leaders are responsible for creating that environment.

Likewise, if a team is working in an environment of fear each other, what you will cultivate in that environment is paranoid, cynicism, mistrust and self-interest. 

Most leaders think leadership is about being in charge, no, Simon says its about you being responsible for the people you are in charge of.

Then most leaders think everybody works for them, no, the leader works for their people. Make your people feel safe and they will give you their blood, sweat and tears to advance your vision. All they ask is you take care of them, hear them, see them. If you don’t take care of them, then they rise to protect themselves from their own leaders. 

We want people to give us their best of thinking.

Question to reflect on: How safe do you feel where you work? Does my team feel safe?

Disclaimer: Safety doesn’t mean there is no discipline, you cant get inn trouble, its not a charity where people just float along.

There is enough threat outside of your workplace, there is enough pressure that we don’t have control over.

But what is in leaders control is the environment and it is their responsibility - the environment to grow, the opportunity to build confidence, to build their best self, the opportunity to love the people I work with, the opportunity to go to work and enjoy it, opportunity to interact and build relationships. the opportunity to fail and try and try and try again and again.

What is Work Life Balance and how can we as a leader offer that to our staff?

Work life balance also speaks to the ability to feel safe. When there is work life imbalance, that is because someone feels safe at home but not at work or vice-versa, someone feels safe at work but not at home, that is what Work life imbalance eludes to, Simon says.

No amount of yoga or offering free lunch will cover the feeling of feeling unsafe at work. You need to show leadership and find out how people will feel safe and then take measurements or initiative accordingly for them to feel trust again.

If as a leader fears your own people, its because the leader isn’t taking care of their people.

How do we identify Leaders? How do I prep myself to be a Leader? 

We call someone a leader not because you are in charge, but they went first into the unknown, 1st towards the danger, 1st to take care of the people around them.

Simon says sometimes there are people at the top of the career ladder, they have all the authority but aren’t a leader (not taking care of the people around them). We as workers don’t wanna follow their vision or give them the hard work, sweat and tears. Then there are people at the bottom of the organization,  and are a leader because they know how to foster that safe environment for the people they work around and know how to take care of the people around them.

So leadership has nothing to do with authority, it has to do with - are you taking care of people around you? Having a position of authority simply means you have scalability or the ability to influence more people. 

Who can be a Leader? 

We ALL have the capability to be a leader, its not just for some of us! As social animals, it feels good to take care of others, to help others. And if it is so natural to us, its our instinct to take care of each other and so it feels so good when someone does something awesome for us without any expectations. It also feels good to help others.

Taking care of others releases Oxytocin, a feel good chemical. Taking care of others, being taken care of, even watching a generous act releasing the same chemical. This is possible only in an environment where we are able to take care of each other.

Benefits of being a good leader vs not?

When you do leadership right aka create environments where we take care of people around us - you are actually medically enhancing their well being, leading to happier workers who then go home and have happier families, happy people live longer.

Vs Bad leadership is medically killing people over time, where there is high stress and high anxiety, there is less empathy given the bad environment, bursting their immune systems, Cortisol is high.

What is leadership about really?

So leadership is not about the company, its not about the leading the company, you can run a company. Leadership is about leading the people. Mostly, someone gets promoted to a leadership position because they know how to do the work and now they get to be responsible for the people for the job you used to do. But no one is teaching these leaders how to take care of their people. And so of-course, leaders end up being managers because thats why I got promoted because I know how to do your job. We have to go through this transition, you are no longer responsible for the results, you are responsible for the people who have to get you the results. 

What are the characteristics of a great leader? And how can I take some actions to develop myself as a leader?

This leadership skills are students, it requires learning and practice. Its something has to be learned. Leaders talk about leadership, like golfers talk about golfers. Study Leadership. We all can, look around us and see leaders. It takes practice and its a daily practice. Its about putting others lives before us. 

It starts outside of work, it can. Its a muscle, has to be built.. small changes, daily practice, and if you practice a lot, you get better.

Hope you found this to be helpful. If you did, what is one thing you will implement?