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Book synthesis

Leaders eat last : Why some team pull together and others don’t

• The support and loyalty of your team depend on the security offered by their working environment and, therefore, their manager.

• It is up to you to set the tone: a culture that promotes trust and encourages individuals to collaborate and help each other guarantees efficiency.

• To construct a strong “circle of safety,” you must avoid the pitfalls of distance and remain in close contact with your teams.

Based on

Leaders eat last: Why some team pull together and others don’t
by Simon Sinek (Portfolio, jannuary 2014).

When people feel safe, they work together and help one another naturally, without any coercion or pressure. They undertake together what cannot be done alone and are able to mobilize themselves against external dangers, take risks, and make sacrifices. In line with the work of Adam Grant,* Sinek argues that benevolent and generous managers, who put the psychological wellbeing of their employees before their own, enhance the performance of their team over the long term. But isn’t that an idealistic outlook? “Not so,” says Sinek, “There is compelling evidence across all sectors. It is your responsibility as a manager to protect your teams. In return, they will help each other and move the business forward.”

Deciphering behaviors to build trust

Building trust begins with promoting a working environment that makes the most of the natural need for cooperation.

The importance of the circle of safety

Sinek reminds us that feeling safe is a primary psychological need. While external tensions are unpredictable, dangers within the company fall under your responsibility as a manager. By creating a circle of safety around your teams, you will reduce feelings of threat. You are the guardian of the circle, and you must ensure that it encompasses everybody who works with you, regardless of his or her place in the hierarchy, and that every member contributes to maintaining the circle. When the circle is strong, it creates an environment where information can be exchanged freely. In Sinek’s words, “Ideas and intelligence, as well as success and failure, are shared there naturally.”

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Clémence Thiry
Published by Clémence Thiry
Clémence is Digital Manager. She is in charge of our digital strategy and of running our blog and newsletter. She also supports our customer projects with content for managers’ digital communities.