Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last

About this presentation

In this in-depth talk, ethnographer and leadership expert Simon Sinek reveals the hidden dynamics that inspire leadership and trust. In biological terms, leaders get the first pick of food and other spoils, but at a cost. When danger is present, the group expects the leader to mitigate all threats even at the expense of their personal well-being. Understanding this deep-seated expectation is the key difference between someone who is just an “authority” versus a true “leader.”

For more on this topic, check out Sinek’s latest book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t now available for pre-order.

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3:30 Happiness breakdown (4 chemicals)
5:53 1) Endorphins
7:16 Importance of endurance
7:59 2) Dopamine
8:19 Dopamine is to make sure get stuff done
9:10 Goals must be tangible – we have to see the goal to stay focused
10:17 Dopamine is dangerous when unbalanced
15:07 Feel safe
15:40 In our organization, danger isn’t a constant it is a variable
17:05 The responsibility of leadership is 2 things: 1) Determine who gets in and who doesn’t 2) how big do we make the circle of safety
17:33 Great leaders extend safety to the outermost of the org
17:53 3) Serotonin – leadership chemical
19:30 Trying to enforce relationships
22:22 Value of group-living
22:28 Being alpha comes at a cost
26:01 The cost of leadership is self-interest
27:15 Makes you feel safe
27:34 4) Oxytocin
29:03 Businesses aren’t rational, it’s about feeling safe. “It’s human — physical touch”
29:27 “Human bonds matter”
29:29 Act of human generosity
32:19 Leaders spend time/energy not money
37:30 You have to make sure you can trust others as leaders because you won’t have time to help everyone
38:47 Cortisone – the feeling of stress and anxiety
40:59 Needs to shut down during times
41:42 Cortisone inhabits oxytocin
42:18 “Our jobs are killing us.. leaders are responsible”
43:12 Leadership is a decision, a choice.

About Simon Sinek

A trained ethnographer and the author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek has held a life-long curiosity for why people and organizations do the things they do. Studying the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact in the world and achieve a more lasting success than others, he discovered the formula that explains how they do it.

Sinek’s amazingly simple idea, The Golden Circle, is grounded in the biology of human decision-making and is changing how leaders and companies think and act.

His innovative views on business and leadership have earned him invitations to meet with an array of leaders and organizations, including Microsoft, Dell, SAP, Intel, Chanel, Members of the United States Congress, and the Ambassadors of Bahrain and Iraq.

Sinek recently became an adjunct staff member of the RAND Corporation, one of the most highly regarded think tanks in the world. He also works with the non-profit Education for Employment Foundation to help create opportunities for young men and women in the Middle East region. He lives in New York, where he teaches graduate level strategic communications at Columbia University.

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15 replies
  1. Évelyne Lachance
    Évelyne Lachance says:

    I want more of this on Youtube – and less "Top 10" countdowns. I think my Oxytocin levels went up a notch here.

  2. Adrian The Earthling
    Adrian The Earthling says:

    Great video however Simon said to please explain to him why heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer is on the rise at 42:09 well, the truth is that the consumption of animal based products cause those diseases, nobody want you to know because animal agriculture is the biggest money maker in all of the world, more than war or education. If you don't believe me search up Dr Michael Greger – Uprooting The Leading Causes Of Death on youtube and you'll see the studies for yourself. Just thought I mention that. Apart from that, great vid! :)

  3. Maria Eugenia Fernandez
    Maria Eugenia Fernandez says:

    Can it be found with spanish subtitles?.. I would like to show it to someone who doesn't understand english.

  4. icecubeguy202
    icecubeguy202 says:

    This is a fantastic message. Regarding addiction and cell phones – this is right on. I have students and fellow teachers who go through withdraw if they cannot get to their phones. iPads – same thing. These devices are a mess when used without restraint or in place of a textbook or notebook. Learning is held back by these devices.

  5. Neuton Tablet
    Neuton Tablet says:

    A heartfelt email sent next day (quicker than snail mail) by a company team member with a knack for words is better than scribble on a piece of tree ANY day!

  6. Nelson Arrojo Jr
    Nelson Arrojo Jr says:

    Every company and every leader should watch and follow this amazing video !!! Congratulations to Simon Sinek.

  7. Ros Londo
    Ros Londo says:

    Great talk. One issue though is that we cant make the leaders look that bad. Leaders have tight deadlines, tough competition and tough choices to make all the time.


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