Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
I am a huge Simon Sinek fan. This was the first book I read after leaving an extremely challenging and toxic work environment, and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. It connected the science and emotion for me in a way I hadn’t previously understood. I love what George J. Flynn, a retired Lieutenant General of the U.S. Marine Corps, writes in the Forward, “In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek does not propose a new leadership theory or core principle. He has a much higher purpose to his writing. Simon would like to make the world a better place for all of us. His vision is simple: to create a new generation of men and women who understand than an organization’s success or failure is based on leadership excellence and not managerial acumen” (xi).
Sinek introduces the concept of the “Circle of Safety.” When people feel a sense of belonging in this circle, they have deep feelings of trust that others will have their back, and they share ideas, collaborate, and protect each other from outside dangers. Empathy is crucial and the environment is everything. Sinek, with his background in biology and anthropology, goes on to describe the chemicals in our brain and how they drive us in our follower and leadership roles. Rich stories from business and the military demonstrate how successful teams can be when there is a Circle of Safety. In contrast, those teams who are cynical, paranoid, and focused on self-interests struggle to survive. It’s a fantastic journey and one of my all-time favorite books.