Leaders Eat Last and Never Go Hungry

leadership_word_map-800x480There are many words that are thrown about when people talk about Leadership and what makes a good leader .

But really I think the fundamentals are Passion, Confidence, Trust and Respect.

Passion which I wrote about recently in Find Your Why ….. If you want to really be passionate about anything is the foundation to build upon.

Passion I believe leads to Vision, Creativity, Innovation and an Emotional Connection which in turn creates an environment of Confidence in not only the leadership but the organisation.

Trust is the next vital aspect that a true leader needs to have in his people and exhibit to them and in return gain their trust … this develops Loyalty and in turn Mutual Trust. If people Trust you and you trust them and you also have confidence in each other you are well on the way to being a great leader.

This all leads to Respect for the Leader but also Recognition of their Values, their Character and their Power to deliver when needed this is in my opinion what Corporate Culture is all about .

Character in a Person is Culture in an Organisation.

PASSION = Vision + Creativity + Innovation +  Emotion = CONFIDENCE
TRUST = Verbal + Non Verbal Communications + Loyalty = MUTUAL TRUST
RESPECT = Values + Character + Power = CULTURE Ring Master - John Reid

Being a person who thinks in pictures I needed to come up with an image of what a leader was all about and I settled on the RingMaster in the Circus and I described why I thought that Every business needs a RingMaster

This is the person who can bring it all together and make it work in harmony delivering the results needed by the audience, stakeholders, customers, shareholders etc ..because he has the Passion, the Trust and the Respect of all…. and clearly the Confidence to look a little dorky in this picture ….I guess the whip helps!!!

Now finally for the image that inspired this post in the first place – Why would Leaders who Eat Last Never Go Hungry  you ask!

Well it comes from the title of the latest book on Leadership by Simon Sinek –  Leaders Eat Last ……Check out a free Chapter by Clicking the link.

marines eat lastIn my last blog Find Your Why ….. If you want to really be passionate about anything I quoted Simon’s work in finding your basic motivation and now in this book he builds on the why and the passion to examine what make good Leadership.

The best way to explain why I chose this title is to quote a recent interview with Simon in the Huffington Post…

The United States Marine Corps is a fantastic example. Here is a group of people that trust each other with their lives. The amazing thing is that they do not always like each other, but they trust each other. This is an incredible thing. We think that we all have to like each other before we trust each other and that necessarily is not the case. In the Marine Corps, this is where the book title comes from, “Leaders Eat Last.” It comes from a conversation I had with a Marine Corp General, where I was asking him what makes the Marine’s so amazing and he told me, officers eat last. What he meant is that if you go to any Marine Corp Chow Hall anywhere in the world you will see the Marines lined up in rank order. The most senior person at the back of the line and the most junior person eats first. No one tells them they have to do it and it is not in any rule book. It is because of the way they view the responsibility of leadership. We think leadership is about rank and power, they think of leadership as the responsibility for other human beings. 

It is this sort of mutual trust and mutual respect that builds great organisations as everyone is there to support each other.  In the Marines if the food runs out before the last few are fed then the first few make sure they give some of their food to the most senior officers… nobody goes Hungry!

Quite the reverse of the old fashioned organisation where the car parks closest to the door are for the most senior staff…. pretty silly really …especially when quite often they are the ones that could benefit most from walking the furthest.

So there we have it Passion, Confidence, Trust, Respect are great foundations for leadership and leadership that fosters innovation and creativity as it is quite the reverse from a style that engenders fear of failure.  The old adage – Sackings will continue till moral improve –  was never appropriate but was practiced on some organisations.

I think those of us that have been around for a while have come across leaders who believed intimidation and fear were the best motivators ..  I have had bosses (they sure weren’t leaders) who in one case – kept large books on his desk to throw at you when you gave the wrong answer…. or another who insisted non Executive staff get out of the lift when he got in!

The old style leaders likes GE’s Jack Welch – described by NewsWeek as – no-nonsense executive who arouses a mixture of awe and fear – have had their day as times have changed for the better.

I think Simon Sinek sums up the approach to leadership in the information age and beyond well.

“If the leaders of organisations give their people something to believe in, if they offer their people a challenge that outsizes their resources but not their intellect, the people will give everything they’ve got to solve the problem. And in the process, not only will they invent and advance the company, they may even change an industry or the world.”

In my next blog I will build on this Leadership approach and list some more great resources to enhance your knowledge and skills.


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