“How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is a Ted Talk given by Simon Sinek. This talk brings up a unique perspective about the motivations of effective leaders. One key concept that I found very interesting was Sinek’s “Golden Circle.” This circle included “What” in the outer ring, “How” in the middle ring, and “Why” in the center. With this diagram, Sinek went on to explain why some leaders are effective and why some are not. He began by saying that everyone knows what they do, and some of those people know how they do it, but even fewer people know why they do what they do. He kept reinforcing the fact that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. This statement is very powerful because it points to the fact that anyone can be put in a position of leadership, but not everyone can lead effectively. Sinek states that it is the people who know and convey why they do what they do are more effective leaders and are able to obtain more followers because they go beyond simply stating what they do, but they instead sell their cause and their passion.
If a leader is able to gain followers because of a why rather than a what, the followers will not simply follow, but pour their “blood, sweat, and tears” into the work they do. If that is not effective leadership, I am not sure what is. If a leader is able to inspire other people to follow them because of a common goal or passion instead of simply as a result of being in a position of power or authority, the leader will naturally be more effective. If a person truly believes in why they do what they do, what they do will naturally follow, and it will have so much greater of a meaning. In this sense, your motivations are driven by what you believe, which is reflected in what you do. This challenges leaders to keep their goals and intentions in perspective instead of just going through the motions. If a leader is able to effectively communicate why they do what they do, not only will they personally have a better understanding of themselves and their own motivations, passions, and priorities, they will also then be able to more effectively inspire and lead those who share a common goal or belief. Beginning with what you believe will lead you to why you do what you do, which will lead you to putting those beliefs into action. When you start with the “Why?” it will lead to the “What?” What you do proves what you believe, and why you do it is your motivation.
“There are leaders and there are those who lead.” -Simon Sinek
“It’s those who start with why that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.” -Simon Sinek