Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last

In this in-depth talk, ethnographer and leadership expert Simon Sinek reveals the hidden dynamics that inspire leadership and trust. In biological terms, leaders get the first pick of food and other spoils, but at a cost. When danger is present, the group expects the leader to mitigate all threats even at the expense of their personal well-being. Understanding this deep-seated expectation is the key difference between someone who is just an “authority” versus a true “leader.”


(3:33 min)

Who would risk their lives for others so that they may survive?

I asked Johnny Bravo, why would you risk your life so that others may survive.

Because they would have done it for me.

In the military, we give medals to people who are willing to sacrifice themselves so they other may gain.

In business we give bonuses to people who are willing to sacrifice others so that we many gain.

We have it backwards.


(25:34 min)

Leadership (Alpha) comes at a cost.  You see, we expect when danger threatens us from the outside.. we expect them to run towards the danger to protect us.  This is what it means to be a leader.  The cost of leadership is self-interest.  If your not willing to give up your perks when it matters, then you probably shouldn’t be promoted.   ..

.. Leadership comes at a cost.  You don’t get to do less work.  You have to do more work.  And the more work you have to do is put yourself at risk to look out for others.

That is the anthropological definition of what a leader is.

This is why we’re so offended by these banker boys who pay themselves astronomical salaries.  It has nothing to do with the number.

It has to do with the fact that they have violated a deep-seated social contract.

We know that they made all that money and allowed their people to be sacrificed.

In fact they may have sacrificed their people for the money.

If I told you that we’re going to give 150 million to Nelson Mandela would anyone have a problem with that? Nope. $250 million to mother Teresa, got an issue with it?

Its not the number.

We are deeply and viscerally offended that we allowed them to have this alpha position and they did not fulfill the responsibility of the alpha.  They are supposed to sacrifice themselves for us, never sacrifice us for themselves.. This is why we are angry and offended and don’t trust them.  They fail.

Most leaders don’t even know the game they are in – Simon Sinek at Live2Lead 2016

Trust and cooperation are not standard in our organizations and yet we know they should be. There are two attributes that every single leader has the opportunity to possess that will help them create the types of organizations we would be proud to call our own. Those two attributes are EMPATHY & PERSPECTIVE.


Maximizing shareholder value is like a coach prioritizing the fans over the players.