We can all name a few great individuals or companies that have been able to lead and inspire the masses, such as Martin Luther King Jr, or Apple Inc. While they weren’t doing something completely different from the popular movements at the time, they both rose above the crowd and were able to inspire action. So what set them apart? And how can we also become great leaders in our communities and workplaces?
Author Simon Sinek explains, using his ‘Golden Circle’ theory:
In the illustration below, the outside ring represents ‘what’, the middle ring represents ‘how’ and the inner circle represents ‘why’. Sinek explains that everyone knows what they do, most of those people know how they do it, but very few people know why they do what they do. As a result, most people work from the outside in. They explain what they are doing and then find something to explain why they are doing it.
But great leaders work in the opposite way: they work from the inside out. They are motivated by the belief that if they know why they are doing something, then it will allow their actions to explain what they are doing.
Why though, is that even important to distinguish? Why should people know why we’re doing something?
Because people don’t respond to what you do. They respond to why you do it!
Great leaders don’t explain the “what”; they emphasize the “why”. Case in point: 250,000 people didn’t come to stand in the summer heat in 1963 because of Martin Luther King Jr. They came for themselves because they believed what he believed. As Sinek explains, he didn’t give the “I have a plan” speech. He gave the “I have a dream” speech.
Eagle-Com has some amazing clients who are motivated by a passion and a deep love for God. When they allow that passion and belief to fuel their work and their connections, we can see how people are drawn to them, and most importantly, their message.
However, it is easy to lose sight of why we all do what we do. It can be easy to get caught up in deadlines and reports and numbers. But, to be a great leader we must all work from the inside-out. People follow great leaders because these people believe in the same cause.
Are you giving people enough of the “why” for them to respond?
WHAT – HOW – WHY…where do you live?This post is based on a TED talk by Simon Sinek: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html