Leaders Go Last

Leaders Go Last  Yesterday we saw that Leaders Go First. But going first only tells half the story. It is just as important to remember that, Leaders Go Last.

One of the most unhappy days of my life happened when I was a five-year-old. The day represents my first recollection of bad leadership.

My mom left my brother and me with a baby sitter for the day along with a few supplies, including a box of Little Debbie Nutty Bars. 

Nutty Bars

Everything was set for it to be a perfect day. The sitter had a horse, a tire swing, and a big yard for us to run and play, before the chocolate festivities would begin. Only it never happened. At least the chocolate didn’t. While we were out ripping and romping in the yard, the baby sitter stayed in the air conditioned house, and along with her evil sister, ate all of the Nutty Bars. I have carried my bitterness for over forty years.

Great leaders go last. Bad babysitters don’t.

I love the old saying, “Women and Children First.” It is a reminder to a sea captain that he will be the last one rescued should a shipwreck occur ... that Leaders Go Last.

If you want to take your influence to another level, live by, Leaders Go Last. Take the worst parking place instead of the best. Show up in the trenches when no one expects you to. Give when others assume you will take.

And whatever you do, NEVER eat the Nutty Bars until everyone else had had one.



Who do you know that models the “Leaders Go Last” mindset?




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Layi Olatunji

10 years ago

Very funny but extremely true! Reminds me of a similar story growing up and attending a holy communion service in the anglican church back in the days. The normal procedure is for the priests to consume the remaining wine and wafers after the whole congregation have received the communion. On this occassion, one of the priests who did not realize that a few 'straglers' were making slow progress towards the altar thought everyone had received the communion and he gulped down the rest of the wine! It was quite embarassing for him when these people knelt down at the altar and he had no wine left to serve them.
I just love the way you bring out a lesson from normal everyday activities that we all can relate to. That is helping me a lot to "recognize and relate" events and lessons to be learnt.
Thank you Randy!


10 years ago

Great story, Layi! Thanks for commenting and have an awesome day.

Coach Brown

10 years ago

Good story and tie in to leadership. As Jesus stated, the first shall be last and the last shall be first! Your comment reminded me of Col Moore, U S Army Air Cavalry Commander during the Viet Nam era...(Mel Gibson, played his character in the movie, We Were Soldiers)... Col Moore was the first into the battle and the last to leave, and he left no one behind. That is leadership that inspires greatness in others.


10 years ago

That is. Awesome, Coach. What a great model of leadership!


10 years ago

It is the little unseen things that get noticed, even though we may not realize it at the time...
Thanks Randy Let's go have a nutty bar, you can go first...


10 years ago

I'm in, Jason! Thanks for your comment.


10 years ago

Thanks Randy for more of the great leadership examples. The company I have worked for for the last 15 years lives much of today's model. There is no such thing as a reserved parking space at any of our factories or offices, but it goes further than that: When the current management team bought the company 42 years ago, they established the organization chart that we use still use today. At the top of the pyramid is The Customer, followed by our field representatives (our guys "in the trenches" that are closest to the customer). The chart continues downward to customer service and inside staff, department managers, and finally, at the bottom of the chart, the executive management team, who's primary function is to make sure everyone else "above" them has what they need to service our boss: the customer. It works well in business, and in life.


10 years ago

Thanks for sharing that model, FR. It sounds like you work for a great company with leaders who truly get it. Have a great day and thanks for the comment!


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