Simon Sinek has a gift for getting to the essence of things – especially things having to do with leadership and business. His 2010 TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” has been viewed nearly three million times. Much of what he talks about ultimately comes down to personal presence – how we show up as leaders. I suppose that is part of why his presentations speak so strongly to me. No matter what his topic is, it seems that what he is really talking about is how to show up in a way that creates the optimal space for people to be their best. And when people are encouraged and supported to be their best, amazing things happen.

When I watched Simon Sinek’s recent 2014 TED talk, “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe,” I knew right away that I would share it with our community. People feel safe because they trust the people around them and the people who have authority over them. It’s as simple as that. And when people feel safe and trust one another, they tend to show up fully as their best selves, they cooperate with one another, and they create new things together.

Mr. Sinek opens this compelling 12-minute talk with a beautiful story about a military leader who, in the heat of an attack in Afghanistan, ran into live fire to rescue his wounded soldiers. He concludes that short story with these words: “In the military, they give medals to people who are willing to sacrifice themselves so that others may gain. In business, we give bonuses to people who are willing to sacrifice others so that we may gain. We have it backwards.”

Trust and cooperation start as feelings before they become something that we do. We can’t make others trust or cooperate with us or with their colleagues. Yet we can create a space where people feel safe enough to trust, and safe enough to cooperate in service of something bigger than themselves.

Enjoy the video.


P.S. To learn more about how to show up in a way that encourages, inspires, and supports others, have a look at my most recent book, Create A World That Works. The book is also available in digital format.


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