We've all experienced failure at some point. Not landing that big account; not getting that promotion you wanted; working on a presentation or campaign for months and then realizing it's completely off base. It's totally disappointing, right? But, these bumps in the road are totally survivable. You learn from your mistakes, brush your shoulders off, and get back on the horse. Over time, after the sting of defeat has dissipated, you look back and no longer see these things as failures and begin referring to them as “learning experiences” that helped you grow personally and professionally.
This happy ending is sweet, but it’s not the type of failure this blog post is about.
What I’d like to explore is the type of failure that takes down teams—even whole companies—and has the ability to turn extraordinary employees into marginal workers who dread coming into work every day. It’s the type of failure that's so huge and detrimental, it’s causing our jobs to literally kill us because of the stress, pain, and preventable illnesses it causes. .
It’s the failure of leadership.
In 2014, I went to a conference that featured best-selling author and leadership badass, Simon Sinek, as one of the keynote speakers. If you don’t know who Simon Sinek is, you should. He’s best known for his TED talk “Start With Why,” which became the second most watched talk of all time. His views on leadership are innovative, unconventional, and brilliant (in my opinion), and they’ve piqued the attention of companies like 3M, KPMG, Pfizer, and NBC/Universal as well as the military, the United Nations, and the United States Congress.
His keynote speech, which explored the topic of his book titled Leaders Eat Last, was a real eye-opener. Sinek talked about the expectations that differentiate a leader from an authority figure. He described what good leadership looks like and explained how and why it creates an environment where people naturally work together to do amazing things.
Sinek also went into what bad leadership looks like—and how and why it creates an environment that’s toxic. He also gave very clear examples of leadership failure that anyone can understand and relate to.
Whether you’re the supervisor of a top-notch four-person team or the President and CEO of a failing fortune 500 company, you should take the time to watch the video below. It’s a recording of Simon Sinek’s talk “Why Leaders Eat Last” and it’s something anyone could learn a thing or two from.
You’re welcome. :)