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Simon Sinek

October 9, 2014 by Speakers' Spotlight

Simon Sinek: These Are the 3 Most Valuable Leadership Traits

Simon Sinek is an optimist. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. Described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect”, Simon teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. With a bold goal to help build a world in which the vast majority of people go home every day feeling fulfilled by their work, Simon is leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them. The celebrated and bestselling author of both Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, Simon spoke at the World Business Forum this week, where he explained what the three most valuable leadership traits are, and why:

What are the top qualities of great leaders? It’s not a great mystery, said Simon Sinek at the World Business Forum on Wednesday. As the motivational speaker and author explained, it really boils down to three things: selflessness, empathy, and an ability to manage anxiety on your team. Here is a look at each trait, and why they are so valuable for you to cultivate.

Selflessness

People like to be around people they trust–it’s as simple as that. “Humans are constantly assessing people and organizations around them, and if they feel they’re selfish, they’ll keep a safe distance,” said Sinek. On the other hand, people tend to want to associate with people and brands that have an element of selflessness. Creating that human connection–building trust–is key, though it does take time. Just remember: you’re responsible for setting that tone, Sinek warned. “When the environment is one of a leader who [will] sacrifice, the way people respond is by sacrificing in return. Being a leader is a lifestyle decision; it means you’re willing to take care of others.”

Empathy

Speaking of taking care of others, Sinek added, “the more we do good for each other, the more we want to do good for each other.” He recounted the time he picked up loose papers for a man when he saw them slip out of his bag. The man was grateful, but Sinek said his actions went further than that. They motivated someone who saw them to do something kind. Kindness begets kindness, Sinek went on. It’s holding the door for someone, making a new pot of coffee, and letting someone into your lane. “That is the practice of leadership,” he said, putting others ahead of yourself.

Grace Under Fire 

Stress and anxiety are enough to make people dishonest and sabotage their performance at work. When your body is flooded with cortisol, or the chemical that produces anxiety, “you biologically restrict empathy and trust,” Sinek said. Don’t be that kind of boss–if you’re the one inducing fear and anxiety in your employees, you’re never going to have their trust. The solution is clear: work on managing your own stress and “be the leader you wish you had,” he said. Your team will appreciate it.

By Jill Krasny/Inc.com/October, 2014