Books and Book Clubs
By: Queue Murphy
This past week I was talked about at work publicly by my Director. She told everyone that I did so many things for the company and department, that I must not have enough work to do. She told everyone that I basically needed to get back into my own little box. I have experienced this unhealthy culture in most of my work life. I have not worked in an environment that perpetuates a positive work culture - I have always worked in large companies with greedy, selfish leaders.
The book, Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek, does an excellent job in describing the harm this causes. It also describes how to change negative work places, or move away from them. This not only affects us personally, but our future generations as well. The book does describe successful companies and how their directors and managers have changed this type of behavior. Very insightful!
I really enjoyed this book and it gave me hope about what is going on in the work world out there. Let me take that further and state it not only gave me hope for the work world, but also the conscious changes happening in the world.
When I first started to read this book, I thought, oh great, another book about the army, navy, air force or marine discipline. This opinion was because the book started out by describing how marine leaders put their men first – they eat first, go to sleep first, are safe first. Intriguing, but my Dad loves service stories as he was in the navy, and I have heard many stories and watched many movies - and still do when he comes over. However, I gave the benefit of the doubt to the beginning of the book as it had received great reviews and the description was as follows:
Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.
In his travels around the world … Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?
His book goes onto describe what happens in our jobs and everyday life. As people, we want to know and understand the cause of stresses happening to us. If we do not feel safe, cortisol rushes through us and inhibits release of oxytocin (empathy hormone). The cortisol hormone increases aggression. In companies, neighborhoods, politics, it makes people more selfish. Unhealthy, unbalanced cultures are created as we all adapt to our surroundings. People get used to it – very unhealthy – and we are, as the author describes it, doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure within our companies, communities, country and therefore, world.
The destruction that we create in our outside lives doesn’t stop there, it wreaks havocs on our physical bodies as well. Constant cortisol harms glucose levels, impairs cognitive ability and is a danger to us physically. As we continue to drive forward to survive in this mode, we are left stressed out, our bodies are prepared to act suddenly or fight or run. We turn off digestion and growth. Immune systems are shut down because during these bursts of cortisol, it is not needed. We get sick. We are creating physical sicknesses in our workplace, our homes, everything around us, because of the environment we are accepting and living through.
I recommend this book highly as I have not even scratched the surface of all the details it goes through in describing changes we need to make in our lives! It all starts with leadership and being a leader. We can all be leaders in making this change! Leaders set the tone – leaders eat last!
On Monday morning I will be going back to that box to work – but the difference is, I have already started making plans to move beyond that box – way beyond! I hope you do too!