What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility.


  • medevac – medical evacuation
  • ambush – a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position
  • render – cause to be or become; make
  • obsolete – no longer produced or used; out of date
  • overnight – done, happening, or for use overnight
  • tangible – clear and definite; real
  • expend – spend or use up (a resource such as money or energy)
  • furlough  – leave of absence, especially that granted to a member of the services or a missionary

Think about it

 Answer the questions below.

  • What happened to Captain William Swenson on September 8, 2009? (pause @ 1:43)
  • What did Simon Sinek initially (and mistakenly) think the answer to the question “Where do people like that come from” was? What turned out to be the actual answer? (pause @ 3:17)
  • What are the differences and similarities between the the Paleolithic era example and the modern day example? (pause @ 5:12)
  • In what way is Charlie Kim’s policy of lifetime employment similar to parenting? (pause @ 7:36)
  • Why do people have a natural hatered and anger at some banking CEOs? (pause @ 8:25)
  • What was Bob Chapman’s personnel policy in the face of the 2008 recession? What was the result? (pause @ 9:58)
  • What conclusion does Simon Sinek arrive at? (listen to the end)


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

There’s a man ________ the name of Captain William Swenson who recently was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on September 8, 2009.

On ________ day, a column of American and Afghan troops were ________ their way through a part of Afghanistan to help protect a group of government officials, a group of Afghan government officials,________ would be meeting with some local village elders. The column came under ambush, and was surrounded on three sides, and amongst many other things, Captain Swenson was recognized for running into live fire to rescue ________ wounded and pull out the dead. One of the people he rescued was a sergeant, and he and a comrade were making their way to a medevac helicopter.

And what was remarkable about this day is, ________ sheer coincidence, one of the medevac medics happened to have a GoPro camera on his helmet and captured the whole scene on camera. It shows Captain Swenson and his comrade bringing this wounded soldier who ________ received a gunshot to the neck. They put him in the helicopter, and then you see Captain Swenson bend over and ________ him a kiss before he turns around to rescue more.


Explore it more

TED Talk // Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action