Review: ‘Leaders Eat Last’

This books is quoted endlessly and banded around so often it has a sort of folklore of its own and makes it seem a ‘must read’ before even opening it.

“Returning from work feeling inspired, safe, fulfilled and grateful is a natural human right to which we are all entitled and not a modern luxury that only a few lucky ones are able to find.”

Sinek’s second book (the follow up to the excellent ‘Start with Why‘) focusses on the core message that leaders who enlarge the circle of trust benefit from staff who work for the company and back them up instead of feeling they need to focus on protecting themselves at all costs. He makes the point that as companies grow and those at the top are more removed from those on the ground that leaders need to be careful working under what he dubs conditions of abstraction, where leaders can lose sight of the impact of their decisions on the actual staff. It is about leading the people not the numbers. He is talking about empathy and relationships.

“The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”

He also tries to dispel myths around the constant need to reinforce authority, describing legacy in leadership as the strength of what you leave behind, as opposed to the nostalgia of lamenting what you did at the time.

“And when a leader embraces their responsibility to care for people instead of caring for numbers, then people will follow, solve problems and see to it that that leader’s vision comes to life the right way, a stable way and not the expedient way.”

Simon dwells for much of the book on generational changes in attitude, and without damning any one group, towards the later half on millennials and the challenges of leading this generation. As an educator, leader and parent this was an interesting turn in the book to me. Leaders Eat Last is well worth the read time to my mind and has many thought provoking observations and insights into the true nature of leadership.

“Let us all be the leaders we wish we had.”






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