Why did I read this book?
This is another book recommended by Matt the Inmate professor. This book is in the same league as “The Magic of Thinking Big.” In many ways it is more of my style of book. Matt, who has gotten to know me well strongly recommended this book…This book is different from “Magic….” in the way it incorporates stories to emphasize its points. I am very particular about self-help books that include stories. Especially ones that have stories about the Military, which this does (Although I have a huge respect for the military, I don’t like most military stories or analogies…Weird Rt?). Until this book I only enjoyed leadership books that didn’t try making its points with good stories. I felt like that was lazy. But this book is fascinating and a quick read despite its length. I loved Sinek’s writing style and look forward to reading his other books. Wonderful storyteller.
What did I learn?
This book touches on how humans feel stress when unsupported. The right support is what is needed. He stresses finding and nurturing a “Circle of Safety.” A circle made up of your core friends that support and encourage you. If you would have asked me if I wanted to read a book that discussed the science of Leadership. I would have given a resounding “NO.” But I AM SO GLAD I had no idea the book I was getting into. The chemicals (science) associated with empathy and leadership are absolutely fascinating. Serotonin & Oxytocin are self-less chemicals. Dopamine helps us in the short term. Our motivation is determined by chemical incentives inside every one of us. Any motivation we have is a function of our desire to repeat behaviors that make us feel good or avoid stress and pain. The only thing we can do is create environments in which the right chemicals are released for the right reasons. If we can get the environment right, we create organizational cultures that result in a group of self-motivated people. The goal for any leader is to find the right balance.
There are so many fascinating topics in this book. The discussion of loyalty really hit home for me. What produces loyalty in an employee? According to Sinek it is the “irrational willingness to commit to the organization even when offered more money elsewhere, is the feeling that the leaders of the company would be willing, when it matters, to sacrifice their time and energy to help us.” We will value a boss who spends time after hours to help us as more valuable than a boss who simply signs off on a bonus when we excel.
The best leaders share ideas and credit. Poor leaders hoard ideas and don’t share credit. They falsely believe it is their intelligence, rank or relationships that make them valuable. It is not. In an organization with a strong “circle of safety,” not only is the leader willing to share and pass on the proper credit, but so too is the other members of the team. The leader sets the tone.
Leadership is not permission to do less, it is a responsibility to do more. Leadership is brutal, soul searching, work…if done right. This book gives a terrific blueprint on how to be a game changing leader. I will do my best to apply the principles I have read.
A fantastic quote is at the end of the book. ” Let us all be the leaders we wish we had.” LOVE THAT!!!!!!
How am I going to apply what I learned?
About 7 years ago I met some people that had a huge impact on my life. I have always gravitated toward younger people…I became very close with 2 amazing women that were seniors in college (Marie & Spargs). Through that friendship I became very interested in millennials and their work and leadership habits. At the same time, I became very involved with UCSB. All of a sudden I was spending a large portion of my time mentoring students or working with the University. It was a very fun portion of my life.
Anyway, I became fascinated with the challenges that millennials were facing in corporate America. I started writing on the subject…. Alas I was a mess and really didn’t finish much then (or I did things Half ass). Well after reading this book, I am inspired to complete that article. I have begun working on it and I plan on using it as a newsletter in the next couple weeks. I’m super excited about working on this as I feel I have some unique insight into the subject. Stay tuned.