I recently had the opportunity to see Simon Sinek live and in person at an event sponsored by Town Hall Seattle. For those of you who don’t know him, Simon Sinek is the author of “Start with Why”. This little book started a revolution, revealing how great leaders inspire others to act. His current book is “Leaders Eat Last”, which describes the sacrificial nature of leadership and the importance of creating a safe and trusting environment. You can find his books at: https://www.startwithwhy.com/Books.aspx
Simon reminded us of our national leadership crisis. With humor, he opened by admitting how disappointed he is that there is a need for him and his work. The leadership concepts he teaches are seemingly simple, yet they are rarely practiced. He covered a lot of territory during the two- hour talk and Q&A session, but in the interest of brevity, I’ve paraphrased the key lessons he shared with us:
- Don’t sacrifice the people for the numbers, sacrifice the numbers for the people
- The main leadership competency is courage
- The closest analogy to leadership is parenting, because leaders must: offer opportunities to fail; discipline; grow/mentor; encourage employees to achieve more than the leader achieved
- Leadership is like exercise – it can’t be measured in daily doses and it takes a long time to see the impact
- It’s during times of trouble when we see real leadership
- Trust and cooperation are feelings that grow from being around people who create safe environments
- Sacrifice is what it takes to be a leader
- Leaders must know how to confront, while displaying empathy
- Toxic leaders divide people, but when people take care of each other, they emasculate a toxic leader
- Expressing vulnerability gives a leader strength (i.e., “I want to go there, but I have no idea how to get there”)
- Stop talking about what you do and only talk about what you believe
- Find those who believe, clarify the message, and preach, preach, preach
“The opportunity is ripe for real leaders”. Challenge yourself to be the leader who practices empathy, sacrifice and courage. Be the leader who sets a vision that inspires others to follow. Be the leader who stands apart from the rest!
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Deneen Grant is a Leadership Strategist/Culture Expert and founder of Progressive Leadership Group. Progressive Leadership Group partners with CEOs and Senior Executives to put the Right Leaders, in the Right Roles, with the Right Skills – creating a thriving and profitable company.