Our work at MECC gives us the opportunity to work with many different organizations, teams, and leaders. This month we’re exploring what makes a leader a successful one. In his TedTalk, Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe, Simon Sinek explores the evolution of true leadership and what it means to lead. Sinek’s TedTalk isn’t only for people in positions of power, but for all people who aspire to do great work. Here are the main takeaways from Sinek’s TedTalk feature.

  • It’s all about the environment. Sinek agrees: “If you get the environment right, every single one of us has the capacity to do these remarkable things, and more importantly, others have that capacity too.” The key to successful leadership? Create an environment that offer opportunities for people to be excellent. Great leaders aren’t looking out for themselves, they’re looking out for their teams who remain at the center of the organization. For teams to be great, they have to take risks, and for teams to take risks the environment has to give signals saying, “you’re safe.”
  • Build trust. Easy, right? “The problem with concepts of trust and cooperation is that they are feelings, they are not instructions. I can’t simply say to you, “Trust me,” and you will. I can’t simply instruct two people to cooperate, and they will. It’s not how it works. It’s a feeling.” Trust lives beyond words. Trust is making decisions that benefit the team, not self. Trust is being willing to make sacrifices, take cuts, and work harder. When we do these things as leaders, our team members will understand that the goal of our organization isn’t just to take home a paycheck or receive recognition, but to be better, productive members of a team.
  • Start with why. In another of his talks, Simon Sinek explores how great leaders are able to inspire action. Sinek explains that people first respond to the why before they ever consider the what. Great leaders know why they believe in their products, in their businesses, in their teams. Using Apple as an example, Sinek explains that their customers aren’t just buying products, they’re buying the reason Apple exists, to challenge the status quo. The same goes for great leaders: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” 

We love working with organizations and teams to cultivate great, influential leaders. What are some ways you practice great leadership?