Leaders Eat Last


When I saw this presentation by Simon Sinek, I was reminded of my early days in the Marines when I heard him describing an old Marine custom. “When you are on base, officers eat first. When you are out in the field, officers eat last.” As a young Marine, this practice said a lot about leadership, the organization I served, and what was important.

Sinek is interested in leaders who make an impact in the world with the capacity to inspire. His newest work explores “circles of safety,” about how great leaders enhance feelings of trust and confidence in making bold decisions. The title of his latest book is, of course, Leaders Eat Last.

Sinek is an ethnographer by training and an adjunct of the RAND Corporation and teaches graduate-level strategic communications at Columbia University.

View this 18 minute video and think about how you lead, how you inspire, how you impact, and how you establish “circles of safety” in your workplace.

And don’t forget, leaders eat last!



  1. That lady who yell at the passenger had no right to do so but I can understand her because as Edward Demning pointed out we need to drive fear out of the workplace and she did have fear of her bosses.

    It is too bad that the rest of the American companies that NextJump don’t adopt the policy of not laying people off. It must have gotten that from the Japanese companies because for a long time, that was there policy of not laying people off and we American mock them for having such a stupid policy.

    It is funny about Sinek’s remark about being leaders at the bottom. In the military, it is impossible to find leader who after 20 to 40 years are still buck privates, corporals, buck sergeants, second lieutenants, first lieutenants, and captains because they don’t want to move up the promotion ladder but if they don’t move up, they are force to leave the military. In a police force, you can be a leader while still being a patrol officer/detective and remain in that position and don’t have to worry about being kicked off the force because the police don’t have an up or out policy when it comes to promotion.

    I have respect for the the US and Conferderate officers of the American Civil War because it it was the last war that you had officers from the rank of major to general being killed in large numbers when compare those officers involve in American wars after that time period.

    There was another Simon Sinek segment on Ted Talk (don’t remember the title), where he talked about John Wooden’s experience as a teacher where he saw the good students excelled with little or no effort while the other students had to work their tails off in order to get the same results and he thought that because of it, our education system was all screwed up.

    According to Mr. Sinek, when Wooden became ULCA basketball coach, he wanted to help everyone succeed by making them the best they could be. Winning or losing a game did not matter to Mr. Wooden. All he care about was helping his players/students. The end result was that his team won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period. However, even when he had lost a game especially a big one in the national championship, he did not get upset over it and ragged his players and staff. Instead he concentrated on helping his players be the best that they could be. According to Mr. Sinek, not all Wooden’s players were top college basketball draft picks, however, he did get the best out of even his worst players and then they became great ones.


    1. I think there’s another (of many) Wooden stories. This one is about Lou Alcindor (Abdul Jabar) when he came to college and met Wooden. The first practice was about how to tie your shoes so they would never come undone in a game. Basics… basics… basics! At first Jabar was unsettled by this because he thought of himself as a hot high school BB star. Then he came to realize what Wooden was doing. Leadership for everyone.


      1. What you describe is what exactly what I saw in that other Sinek’s video. In that same video, Mr. Sinek also stated that one of Wooden’s basketball players went on to play professional basketball; however, in a few years, he quit because all the coaches and players talk about was winning, winning, and winning and he could not stand that kind of attitude compare to Wooden’s approach to the game.


  2. Reblogged this on Praying Our Way Through Stress and commented:
    very very good – awesome, encouraging and inspirational. “It is better we all suffer a little than any one have to suffer a lot.” Morale went up – people cared for one another – and I really like the inaudible ‘we have it backwards’ somewhere around 2:06 – 2:21


  3. Reblogged this on Walking the Social Media Beat and commented:
    As I watched this naturally my thoughts went to my own organization and I found myself identifying people who are authoritarian leaders. Leaders who demand respect because of their position. I thought of leaders who have an authoritarian position but that is not why they would be followed…it is because they would do any job they would ask of someone else and be the first “into the breech” if the opportunity was there.
    Most importantly though, I thought of men and women who I have worked with, supervised or watched that don’t have a title or a position of authority that I would follow because they are true leaders in every sense of the word.
    Be that type of leader.


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