The Practice of Leadership

May 17, 2014

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“Leadership is not an event, it is a practice.”

It is the “daily little things where we practice putting the well-being of others before ourselves.”

Simon Sinek, speaking at a recent Leadercast event said this. He is the author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. I have not read these books, but they are being added to my list after hearing him at Leadercast.

Sinek shared the story of the Marine Corp, where it is well-known the officers always eat last. They put the needs of their troops ahead of their own. It was this story which became the basis for his recent book.

He shared other examples of how this is played out (and where it is not)

“In military we give medals to those who sacrifice for others. In business, you get bonuses for sacrificing others so we can gain.”

“When danger threatens, it is the leaders instinct to sacrifice themselves to help the people gain.”

“We willingly make these sacrifices when we have children.”

“Leadership is a responsibility and not a rank. But, in business we say pay yourself first.”

” Leaders want to see their people grow up, have opportunity and get an education…It’s taking care of others.”

A true leader’s greatest desire is to want to see their people make something of themselves. Perhaps this means they will even surpass us.

One of the unique twists of leadership is that when we put the well-being of others first, they in turn will sacrifice for us. We’ve all heard of teams that are loyal to their leader. They respect him or her and will work hard. This type of influence does not come from a title, a pay grade, and certainly cannot be demanded. It is earned based on how you care for your people.

Sinek pointed out that leadership is not something we measure on a daily basis, just like parenting. Profit margin or sales are easy to track, meaning we often put the emphasis on these things. When we do, we can miss our on good opportunities to develop people.

He closed with the memorable statement of, “We must be the leaders we wish we had.”

Let us not accept leadership as a rank, a business card, or a singular event.

Let’s engage in the practice of leadership daily.

To hear more from Simon Sinek, join me in picking up a copy of his books.

                   

 

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God