Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

by Simon Sinek

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Our Main Take-Away:

The act of eating last, by senior officers in the Marine Corps, is a daily demonstration of the commitment by leadership to create a safe and nurturing environment for those they lead. The text examines of how “selfless” leadership practices result in greater productivity for teams and better long-term outcomes for organizations.

Reasons to Read:

Sinek provides the history and biology of the human species as a back drop for his research and conclusions about how “selfless” leadership practices employed by leaders is a long-term benefit to both leaders and companies. Leadership practices which emphasize inclusion and mutual support, create safe spaces where individuals and teams feel free to take risks, share important information, and strive to help one another succeed are those he puts forward as aspirational examples.

His assertions that short-term thinking, such as using layoffs to enhance quarterly financial statements, are deeply harmful to the long-term objectives of organizations. Caring for employees and utilizing leadership practices which help employees to grow and feel authentically connected to the organization are vital.

In many the examples of leadership highlighted by Sinek, his exploration of differences between generations of leaders and their very different approach to reaching individual and corporate goals is at the forefront. His recommendation that the trend of self-centered leadership resulting in a loss of connection and shared responsibility in all our corporate, public, and political institutions be reversed, is supported by examples and case studies throughout the book.

Sinek has a very personal writing style that connects easily to readers and is very resonant with those utilizing this book to enhance their leadership skills.

Building a culture of inclusion where current and future leaders grow together is the mission of Fired Up Culture. Productivity through a positive culture and feeling of purpose and belonging is the expertise we bring to your organization.

Amazon Summary:

Finally in paperback: the New York Times bestseller by the acclaimed, bestselling author of Start With Why and Together is Better. Now with an expanded chapter and appendix on leading millennials, based on Simon Sinek’s viral video “Millenials in the workplace” (150+ million views).

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort–even their own survival–for the good of those in their care.

Too many workplaces are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best ones foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a “Circle of Safety” that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.

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