Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek has been on my TBR list for a long time, and I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading it! I really enjoy books about leadership and management, and being a manager feeling the typical burn out brought on by the year that was 2020, I knew I was in need of some “professional self care.” For me, that includes reading leadership books- something that helps reinstate my confidence, motivation and excitement as a leader. This book was a perfect reminder of the importance of establishing and maintaining trust among your team, as well as putting their well-being first and sacrificing your own needs for the good of those you lead (ultimately things that probably fell to the wayside or were tested for many of us throughout 2020).
BOOK DESCRIPTION: “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.”
I really enjoyed the stories that Sinek shared throughout this book, as I found them all to be very motivating and inspirational. While some of the items in here may seem like common sense, I think that’s what makes this book so valuable and timeless. The information in here reiterates the importance of good, “common sense” leadership skills and traits and while these skills seem easy to implement, they take a lot of work, patience and consistency. What I enjoyed most about this book was that it allowed me to engage in my own self reflection and see where I’ve been both excelling, and slipping, this past year and how to get back on track. 2020 was a challenging year for so many reasons and personally left me very anxious and distracted- I found myself consumed by my own anxieties (both personal and professional) and the need to do whatever I could to make myself feel safe, that I wasn’t as focused on others and making sure to check in with them consistently and offer them the extra support that we all truly needed. While I understood that I needed to focus on my self care so I could be beneficial to others, I was not placing as much focus on making sure I was doing everything in my power to make my team feel safe, secure and supported. This book served as a wonderful reminder of just how important the “basics” are- sacrificing your needs for the good of your team and maintaining that “Circle of Safety” among them. Making sure that you do this will guarantee that your needs as a leader are still met, or even exceeded, no matter what you may be going through.
If you feel like you’re in a slump, are looking for a boost of self confidence and guidance in your leadership capabilities, or just want to read a really good personal development book, I highly recommend reading Leaders Eat Last. This is the first book I’ve read by Simon Sinek and I look forward to reading more books by him this year.
BEER RECOMMENDATION: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek is best paired with Brew ‘em Hop-Ups: Apple Cinamonomnoms by Hysteria Brewing Company. This highly delicious fruited sour tastes just like an apple cinnamon pop tart with the perfect sour kick 🍻