November 17

Today I Ate First

Today I Ate First...

But I often don't. 

There are two schools of thought 'out there'. The first is that you need to always look after number one. Yourself. That YOU matter most.

This is not wrong, for many reasons. But it also is incredibly foreign for many service-focused people. It's not how S-natured people approach business or life.

In fact, the second school of thought is that 'good' leaders do just the opposite. They're the last one off the ship.

One of my favourite thought leaders is Simon Sinek, who wrote a book about entitled Leaders Eat Last, with the premise that being "last" is really the most powerful position to lead from.

Here's my take, based on how DISC personalities shake out as it pertains to leadership, and whether you 'should' be eating 'first', or 'last'...

LEADERS all lead differently.

Typically people view 'leaders' as out in front, literally leading the way. And that's true for our Dominant (D) styles. But it's not true for every leader. 

No matter where you lead from, each quadrant is powerful in its own right.

Being last on the ship, or even going down with it, is engrained as the right thing to do for may reasons.

But today, let's not talk about what we're 'instructed' or expected to do, and discuss instead what's most natural from leaders who lead from behind - our S-natured leaders.  

S-Natured Leaders Always Eat Last. Naturally.

I tend to agree with Simon Sinek. That true leadership means doing the best for your team, ensuring they've got everything they need in order to succeed, even if that means you get a little less. 

Parents do this naturally. Sharing meals, for example, giving up portions to sustain little ones for their health, full bellies, and happier moods. 

And sometimes S-natured people need to know when it's time to apply their own oxygen mask first, in order to keep leading.

"Please administer your own oxygen mask
before assisting others." 

The idea that you can't serve others if your own cup isn't full is true. So the intention here is to identify not only when your cup isn't 'running over'... but when it's running dry. 

Sadly, many S-natured (service oriented) people are so incredibly self-sacrificing that they will sacrifice themselves right into the ground, at which point they are no longer capable of leading (or serving anyone) successfully. 

The trick? Paying attention

This morning, it was making my own 'second breakfast' (the one we have after returning from hockey every weekend!), FIRST. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I made my own meal first before making everyone else's (or at least the kids'). But I could feel this intense hunger, which I knew was leading to a headache, which would lead to physical exhaustion, and a miserable attitude. 

This is not the place I want to lead from. So I made myself a glorious second breakfast, and ate it without interruption. THEN I fed my hungry kids. *Gasp! I know (it felt simultaneously barbaric and a little glorious too).

Sounds simple enough though, right? Help yourself, then help others... but if you are not S-natured, let me assure you, this approach is incredibly foreign. 

Of all the DISC quadrants, Ss ALWAYS take care of themselves LAST. The Ds, Is, and Cs could learn a little something here. And the Ss? Well, we could learn a LOT from the other quadrants about self-care. 

Lean In. Level Up. Leverage.

Lean In.
No matter which quadrant you lead from, recognize your strength and lead powerfully from there. It's your greatest gift.

Level Up.
Notice where you may be too self-sacrificing (or self-serving), and the impact it has for the people you lead.

Look to those you admire. What is it about THEIR leadership skills that are notable? Maybe you could try some new skills on for size, and see if something shifts as a result.  

Tell me, where do you naturally lead from? Have you ever tried leading a different way? What was the outcome? 

Until next time,

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About the Author

Jennifer Maxwell

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