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

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Penguin, 2014 - Business & Economics - 244 pages
Why do only a few people get to say ?I love my job”? It seems unfair that finding fulfillment at work is like winning a lottery; that only a few lucky ones get to feel valued by their organizations, to feel like they belong.

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 are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his travels around the world since the publication of his bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were 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.

This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. It's not a management theory; it's biology. Our brains and bodies evolved to help us find food, shelter, mates and especially safety. We've always lived in a dangerous world, facing predators and enemies at every turn. We thrived only when we felt safe among our group.

Our biology hasn't changed in fifty thousand years, but our environment certainly has. Today's workplaces tend to be full of cynicism, paranoia and self-interest. But the best organizations 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.

The Circle of Safety leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities.

As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories from a wide range of examples, from the military to manufacturing, from government to investment banking.

The biology is clear: when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader's vision and their organization's interests. It's amazing how well it works.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MikePearce - LibraryThing

This book is OK, but not ground breaking. Summarised in one sentence it's: "Look after your people and they will look after your company." but Sinek uses a bookload more words to repeat the same thing ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mdubois - LibraryThing

Some good stories, but retread of many old studies with conclusions that stretch the edges of credulity. And how do you take someone seriously who morally equates legally reducing your tax burden with ... Read full review

Contents

Employees Are People
9
Belonging
19
Yeah but
26
POWERFUL FORCES
33
E D S O
39
The Big C
45
Why We Have Leaders
62
REALITY
72
So Goes the Leader so Goes the Culture
137
Integrity Matters
148
Friends Matter
158
Lead the People Not the Numbers
166
A SOCIETY OF ADDICTS
181
At Any Expense
188
The Abstract Generation
195
Step 12
203

HOW WE GOT HERE
81
The Boomers All Grown Up
90
Abstraction Kills
97
Managing the Abstraction
108
Imbalance
122
We Need More Leaders
214
Notes
221
Bibliography
235
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Simon Sinek an unshakable optimist, is the author of the bestselling book Start with Why, which challenged traditional assumptions about how great leaders and great companies inspire people. He has shared his ideas with companies big and small, members of Congress and the highest levels of the U.S. military. His TEDTalk based on Start with Why is the second most popular video of all time on TED.com. He lives in New York City.

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