Simon Sinek’s “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe”

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Simon Sinek has done it again!  “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe” is a new TED Talk by the speaker who gave us wildly popular “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” or the “Start With Why” speech.  This March 2014 presentation is not to be missed.  Check it out below:

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This speech emphasizes trust and safety as the keys to establishing leadership in a company or business.  If employees live in a culture of constant fear, if they feel they could lose their job at any moment if they don’t abide by the rules or the chain of command, leadership is not good if it can be called “leadership” at all.

Sinek teaches us that good leadership is about nurturing and opportunity, education and discipline, as well as a focus on building self-confidence.  He says if an employee at a company with good leadership is having performance issues, that company focuses on coaching and support.  He also says good leaders sacrifice numbers for people.  Companies with strong leadership know that people are the bottom line and not money.  Sinek tells story after story after story of companies with leadership that empowers people.  You have got to watch his Talk.

Leadership is infinitely fascinating to me.  I recently shared several articles I’ve been reading in the last edition of Links of the Week.  I began a new leadership training at my company today.  Yesterday, I had a meeting with my professor to flesh out my leadership-centered graduate thesis topic.  I can never read enough or learn enough on the topic, and I think I am most curious because I see leadership and presentation/communication skills so closely linked.

What great resources on leadership have you enjoyed lately?  Did you like this Sinek talk on leadership as much as his first TED presentation?

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2 thoughts on “Simon Sinek’s “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe”

  1. Gary Bisaga

    Hi Alex, I am a bit torn on this talk. On the one hand, I am totally inspired by it. It’s made me realize that I’ve been compromising my ability to lead by my own responses to things that sometimes happen. This reminds me of something from John Piper that I recently retweeted:

    RT @jonathanparnell: When we get angry it might be telling us something. http://t.co/ObtYQICWDE // This is a good soul check.

    I also could not help thinking of Weird Al Yankovic’s excellent song “Why does this always happen to me?” So Sinek’s talk is really making me reexamine myself and my reactions.

    The only negative is how he talked about companies not caring about their people, and how nobody should ever be fired for performance. I agree about not firing my kids because they didn’t get good grades (and I think my kids would agree I’m a not-terrible father at least), but my experience is not that all companies are heartless. In fact, none that I’ve worked for, and I’ve worked for a bunch, were like that.

    In my current company, we’ve had to get rid of several people for performance. But that was only after many, many months of working with them, trying to help them improve. In the few cases we did lay them off, it was only because they essentially refused to work on their problems. They were putting extra load on everybody else. I think everybody knew it, and anybody who asked (like me) was made to understand it was only after a long period of working with the people to try to improve their performance. Even the army would “fire” somebody who was belligerent and uncooperative and refused to improve.

    It is actually a lot like parenting, come to think of it. I would never have spanked my kids for making a mistake or not doing well in school. But outright disobedience is another story altogether. And my son agrees that some times we had to discipline him, he was asking for it, and some of his friends would better off had their parents done the same.

    Anyway, thanks for pointing us to it and giving me food for thought!

    • Gary Bisaga

      Actually, on thinking about this more, I have experienced what he’s talking about – once. It was at my last company, where I was let go despite being one of the strongest contributors and always getting high reviews, simply because I made more money than they wanted to pay. In truth, they did give me an option to take a 1/3 pay cut. But it wasn’t anything across the board: it was me and a few others. I also realized that fallout from this is still compromising my own leadership at my new company, as I don’t think I make people feel safe enough and generally being Kind of a Jerk Sometimes. So, while it’s by no means universal, it certainly does happen. Thank you *very much* for posting this!

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