It is care and growth, not care or growth. And of the two, care is primary. It is what gives leaders the license to grow. If leaders are setting the bar high and insisting on excellence, but with the intent to enable people to be the best that they can be, this is fundamentally different from driving people in the relentless pursuit of the results. The former brings out the best in people; the latter not only exhausts people but leads them to leave, either literally or through a withdrawal of their willingness.
OUR RENDITION OF THIS VIDEO: Sinek talks a lot about having empathy and that leaders should look at people as human beings. But surely there is a tension between that and the will to succeed? How is that best balanced? Surely you can have a wonderful organizational culture that isn’t actually advancing the ball?
Sinek’s reply is that the tension is healthy. “If all you have is empathy then you have a hippie commune and you’re not actually going to cure anything. But if all you’re doing is driving the numbers, you are going to have a short life span and break the machine. Also, you might have a spike and then you’ll disappear. All your best people will say, ‘I hate it here’ and go and work somewhere else and take all their brilliance somewhere else. So there is a balance.
“But there’s also a hierarchy – it’s not 50:50. You can’t say we’re 50 driven by performance and 50 driven by culture because you will face decisions in which one of those things has to sacrifice the other.
“The question is which one are you going to choose.
“There has to be a bias towards people, there has to be a bias towards teamwork, the environment. The will to succeed is driven by belief in the cause. If the cause is clear and you are letting people see the metrics so they feel they are making progress … Go back to the marathon analogy, which is, ‘You’re exhausted, you’re tired but you’re getting close to the finish line and you start running faster not slower’.
“So it’s keeping people included to know what the metrics mean and which ones are trending and which ones are absolute.
“Yes, there’s nothing wrong with the drive to succeed as long as there’s a context within which that drive exists.”