Why Leaders Should Eat Last: A Look into Simon Sinek’s Book

“Leaders are the ones willing to look out for those to the left of them and those to the right of them. Leaders are the ones who are willing to give up something of their own for us. Their time, their energy, their money, maybe even the food off their plate. When it matters, leaders choose to eat last.”

This quote epitomizes the essence of Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.

He uses a storytelling approach to explain the importance of leadership throughout all eight sections of the book. This begins with his explanation of the name for title, where he cites Marine Corp General Flynn's account of why senior officers eat last.

Sinek shares stories of what leaders have done correctly and countless examples of what leaders shouldn’t do.

The first story is about a helicopter pilot with the call name Johnny Bravo. Johnny was supporting troops below on the ground in a dangerous firefight. He continued to support the troops — even under extreme conditions, with limited visibility and risk of his own life. What we call his heroics, Johnny calls part of the job. Sinek emphasizes that leaders like this, ones who prioritize the well-being of others, have followers who will also protect and advance the welfare of others, along with the organization.

The biggest takeaway is Sinek’s idea he calls the “Circle of Safety.” This is where leaders need to create conditions where their employees feel safe from criticism, competition for jobs, layoffs, toxicity, etc. Their followers should only have to worry about external threats, not internal ones. Sinek believes if everyone circles the wagons and works together to protect each other from the external threats, they will have a much better chance of not only survival — but prospering and thriving.

So, if you are a leader, or aspire to be one, who wants to provide an environment where the well-being of the people you are responsible for is paramount, then this book has a plethora of stories and information that may benefit you.

 

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.