The DNA of a good leader

Qu’est-ce qu’un bon leader en entreprise? Simon Sinek, auteur américain de best-sellers et théoricien de la gestion, le résume ainsi : la confiance. Et cette confiance, selon lui, ne se gagne pas à coups de tactiques en ressources humaines. Aperçu de sa théorie.


It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a ‘good’ company and a bad one, other than on the basis of its successes and failures. Yet, according to Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, the key to good business, and therefore the quality of its management, lies in trust.


“We found that, 50,000 years ago, during the Paleolithic era to the early days of Homo Sapiens, the world was full of dangers. Several forces were bent on wanting to kill us,” says Sinek. “Whether it was the weather, the lack of resources or approaching tigers, everything was working against us. So we became social animals. We lived and worked together in what we called a ‘safety circle’ within the tribe, to which we had a feeling of belonging. This still holds true to this day, with various threats to organizations, whatever the nature of these threats may be,” he states.


The ability to establish trust within a company is the most important feature a good leader can have. The best analogy in establishing this reality would be one to do with the role a parent plays.


“We want to give children opportunities and discipline, so they can grow up and accomplish more than we did. Great leaders want the same thing. They want their employees to be more successfully than they could ever be.”


It is, in fact, the true leader who sets the tone for everything that happens within the organization. A really good chef always sacrifices his own welfare before that of his employees. That's why so many people in the Occupy Movement (We are the 99%) of 2011 were angry, frustrated and bitter that some leaders were filling their pockets full of money and granting themselves obscene bonuses while they simultaneously imposed layoffs. These people were in fact not leaders because they sacrificed people – their own people – and their lives rather than sacrificing their own comfort and personal interests. They never ate ‘last’, rather cheerfully indulged in the resources buffet of their company and society.


Besides, there is no need to be at top of the ladder to be a good leader. A real leader does not necessarily have authority in the hierarchy, and an official boss may have absolutely no leadership skills. In short, your office being on the top floor does not make you a better leader.


Sinek added that confidence is, however, not easy to get if done the wrong way.


“We cannot tell people ‘trust me’ and that's it. Trust is earned and is the result of a climate one creates. To achieve this climate, we must be worthy of that trust by genuinely being interested in the people who work with us, respecting our word if we make promises, and above all, by systematically placing our own well-being last.”

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