Episode 012: Why I Cried When I Read “Leaders Eat Last” [podcast]

The book “Leaders Eat Last” describes how the best leaders lead in a way that aligns with how our brains are designed to function. Listen to hear why I cried when I read this book.

(c) Dollar Photo Club

(c) Dollar Photo Club

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On Today's Episode

Rhythm of Life – A Lesson in Mindlessness
Tune-up Tip – Nine Strategies to Fall Asleep Faster
Random Riffs – WD40: The Miracle Oil
Feature Segment – Why I Cried When I Read “Leaders Eat Last”

Rhythm of Life – A Lesson in Mindlessness

I'll admit it, despite my best intentions, I don’t always pay attention to what I am doing or live in the moment.  It is so easy to become distracted by what you see around you.

Distraction can become a habit, sometimes with no ill effects; other times the habit could become dangerous.  Here are some examples:

Listen to hear what we can all learn from the error of my ways and share what's worked for you.

Tune-up Tip – Nine Tips to Fall Asleep Faster

Many of us have a hard time falling asleep, often because we feel stressed, or our mind is racing and we can’t turn it off.  Your sleep system is in the oldest, most primitive part of your brain.  You can’t control sleep, but you can influence it.

Listen for the nine strategies to help fall asleep, including preparing an environment that signals your body for sleep [download f.lux], and establishing bedtime rituals.   Also, learn the eight things NOT to do.

Replacing sleep habits with new ones takes time and commitment, but the benefits are worth it.  You will experience an increase in energy, creativity, productivity, attitude, ability to think and make decisions.

Share tips on what’s worked for you to get to sleep or stay asleep.

Random Riffs – WD40: The Miracle Oil

WD40!!!  It fixes everything that duct tape won’t fix.  It does seem like a miracle oil.

What if we could spray a miracle oil on our minds and hearts and have them instantly repaired?

What’s your WD40?  What gets you moving when you’re stuck?  If you want to share, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Feature Segment – Why I Cried When I Read “Leaders Eat Last”

I recently read Simon Sinek’s book, “Leaders Eat Last”, and it left me with a lump in my throat.  Much of it rang true in my professional experience in Corporate America.  Sinek shows that the most successful organizations are those which create an environment of trust, cooperation, and safety, and supports this with examples of organizations that have created this type of culture.

He describes the ideal leader as one who put their own interests aside to protect us or to pull us into the future.  Leaders care deeply about every person on his or her team.  There is trust.  There is passion.  There is camaraderie.

Successful organizations have cultures in which the leaders provide their team cover from above.  And when we feel sure they will keep us safe, we will march behind them and work tirelessly to see their visions come to life.

There is scientific evidence that work environment, specifically our sense of safety and stress, can impact brain activity. The wisest and the most successful organizations promote behavior, and an environment, that stimulates peak brain activity.  Sinek calls it the Circle of Safety.

An example is the story of Costco and its co-founder, James Sinegal.  Sinegal created a culture where looking after people was the priority.  People first and all else follows; just quietly leading and performing day after day.

Currently, the number of organizations that inspire employees to truly commit themselves is a slim minority.  Happy, inspired and fulfilled employees are the exception rather than the rule.  A 2011 study concluded that having a job we hate is bad for our health, and sometimes worse than not having a job at all.  We have constructed organizations that force humans to work in environments in which they do not work best.

80% of us work in environments that we feel are not safe, where trust has been eroded through layoffs and outsourcing.  What are we supposed to do about this situation?   How can we create our own Circle of Safety, regardless of what our work culture dictates?

  • Bring all of your humanity to work.
  • Build real relationships; be personal.
  • Create an atmosphere of trust among those with whom you work most closely.
  • Take care of your physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual health so you have the strength and energy to withstand the stress. Food, movement, sleep, stress reduction, play. Listen to Episodes 10 and 11.
  • Remind yourself of the difference between making a living and making a life. For more information on that, listen to Episode 9.
  • Break the chain.  The pattern of poor behavior stops at your desk.

At the end of “Leaders Eat Last”, Sinek says this:

“True leadership is not the bastion of those who sit at the top.  It is the responsibility of anyone who belongs to the group.  Each of us has a responsibility to keep the Circle of Safety strong.  We must all start today to do little things for the good of others . . . one day at a time.  Let us all be the leaders we wish we had.”

Who will you be at work?

Even if the leaders “eat first” in your organization, you can create a Circle of Safety in the midst of that dog-eat-dog world.   Imagine that circle starting with you like a stone dropped into the water.  That tiny ripple grows and expands ever outward.

Resources to further help you create a healthier environment are located on my Resources page.

You can join my LinkedIn group called Transformational Thinking, where we explore these topics and more, and offer support to one another.  A virtual Circle of Safety.

How can you create a Circle of Safety where you work? Click here to leave a comment.

To Go Deeper

  1. How safe is your work environment today?
  2. How much power do you have to improve the overall environment?
  3. How might a Circle of Safety look where you work?
  4. Given your role, what can you do to create a Circle of Safety with those whom you work most closely?
  5. If you are a leader, is there someone on your team who is undermining the collaborative spirit?  How much impact is it having on the team?  How can you resolve that issue?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.