Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek



It is the leader’s job to consistently motivate and inspire others. Effective leaders earn respect through sacrifice, empathy, and concern for those in their organization.

18 lessons

Leaders Eat Last

– by Simon Sinek –

1) Great leaders put the well-being of others before their own

A dedicated leader is willing to make sacrifices in order to build the foundation for loyalty in a company. They look out for everyone else, giving people the security and respect to work hard and take risks. Being a leader is like being a parent, meaning that you should provide support and create the conditions for people to reach their potential.

2) Empathy is essential

In order to earn trust, you must first extend trust. Create an environment in which people feel safe and valued. Help workers feel like they belong. Eventually, people will begin to work out of pride rather than from a sense of obligation. They will try hard for each other rather than only for the business.

3) People need to feel safe

If we sense danger in our surroundings, our defenses naturally go up. If we feel safe around others, then we relax and are more open to trust and cooperation. We must build a circle of safety around employees so that they don’t have to worry about constant threats or pressure. Through unification, workers feel secure enough to turn their attention to challenges that the company faces as a whole.

4) Insecurity is harmful to any work setting

If you fail to extend the circle of safety to your entire company, then people will act with paranoia, cynicism, and self-interest. Without their peace of mind ensured, workers are less likely to innovate, take risks, or seize opportunities.

5) The level of trust in a company affects people’s health

Studies show that those who are lower in a hierarchy suffer from more stress and worry. Workers who have more control tend to feel empowered and less anxious. Give employees some autonomy and freedom to make their own decisions, rather than forcing them to work for your approval.

6) Build around your culture

Decide the core beliefs, values, and vision for your company. Hire people who align themselves with these principles. Focus on keeping the culture strong rather than obsessing over numbers or impersonal data.

7) Motivating workers through pressure and urgency is ineffective

When we feel like we belong to a group and trust those around us, we naturally cooperate to face external threats and challenges. If we lack a sense of belonging, then we’re forced to put time and energy into protecting ourselves from each other. As a result, we make ourselves more vulnerable to outside threats and less open to potential opportunities.

8) Cooperation is in our biology

We are all social creatures whose existence depends on each other for survival. Our ancestors survived because they relied on systems of mutual trust and cooperation. We are stressed when we feel unsupported. Our unease comes from the subconscious feeling that we are responsible for ourselves and no one is there to help, because they’re only focused on themselves.

9) You must be genuine

People can sense if you do not sincerely care about them. True leaders are willing to give up their time, energy, and comfort for the sake of others in their organization. You solidify your position and gain respect by making sacrifices and looking out for those around you. Have integrity and always tell the truth, not just what people want to hear.

10) Strive to create a healthy balance of chemicals

Serotonin is responsible for the pride we feel when those we care for achieve great things. Oxytocin helps us form bonds of love and trust through strong relationships. Endorphins and dopamine give us short-term rewards to which we can potentially become addicted. Although serotonin and oxytocin take longer to develop, they are more fulfilling and beneficial for the workplace. Beware of cortisol, which causes us to feel stressed and anxious if we don’t feel secure in our environment.

11) Offer opportunities for self-improvement

Work tirelessly to train your people. Avoid superficial presentations and meetings. Help workers become experienced and confident in their abilities. Gradually give them more responsibility in order to express your trust. If you fail to build trust, then people will lack the ability to adapt and be flexible. Instead, they will be more concerned about simply following rules out of the fear of getting in trouble or losing their job.

12) Humans are not abstractions

The more we think of people in the abstract, the more capable we are of doing them harm. Form personal connections with your employees and know how your actions affect their feelings. Develop your empathy and emotional intelligence.

13) Offer a compelling vision

We all desire to be a part of something noble. Create a worthy cause to work towards in order to give people a sense of purpose and guidance.

14) Meet the people you help

Because we are visual creatures, it doesn’t have much of an impact to just show numbers to prove your company’s success. Give your workers the chance to actually see who they are helping. It’s encouraging and makes employees proud to view some tangible results that came from their hard work.

15) Give time, not just money

Although people appreciate bonuses and financial support, we find more meaning in actions that actually require time and effort. Show that you care by taking the extra step to make employees feel valued.

16) Be patient

It takes time to build and develop quality relationships. Don’t expect immediate results or instant gratification. We must resist the urge of our modern world to have everything we want right away.

17) Workers must love what they do

Customers will never love a company unless employees love it first. You might experience some short-term success by putting numbers ahead of people, but in the long run your business will pay the price. Create something that individuals are proud to work for and contribute to, and that way you’ll have a strong foundation to carry you through the tough times.

18) Anyone can be a leader

Being a leader has nothing to do with your rank in a company. All it takes is looking out for those around you. Form honest bonds with others and offer support. Through solidarity, we can overcome difficulties and find the strength to endure.