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Leadership: What Makes a Person Follow

In the video above Simon Sinek is talking about creating a leadership culture that people will follow. His big point is the following quote:

“People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”



Love this quote.

The timeless application to general leadership is huge. Absolutely huge. So what does it mean? To be a true leader you have to believe in what you are doing. If you don’t, the people you are trying to lead will know. Are you in a leadership position, trying to affect change, inspire people, and lead…all for the sake of your paycheck? This does not work. “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.” Read that again…they buy why you do. And if they know your why is selfish and for yourself…why would they want to be a part of that. This is one of the cores of being a good leader. If people know the ‘why’ behind your leadership and it is something they can get behind…they will follow you…sometimes to the ends of the earth or when it seems crazy.


The second sentence, “And what you do simply proves what you believe” is just the proof of what you believe. No matter how hard you try to hide them, your actions will expose your beliefs. Or maybe not your actions, but your attitude while completing them. Have you ever had someone offer to do something and never follow through? How does that make your feel? Or have you ever heard the phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do?”

do as I say leadership comic
Does this sound familiar?

These are both examples of a leader not invested in the why of doing something. Because, as a leader, if you are invested in the why, you will do what you say. You will help those you offer to help. And you will do it all with an attitude that shows you believe in what you are doing and why you are doing it.

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