All know What. Some know How. Few know Why.

With a need for all people to better as followers and leaders, it is important to understand leadership and its inspirational influence. In Chapter One of Leadership: a Communication Perspective, four themes of leadership emerge to clarify the ambiguity of this special form of human communication. The four primary dimensional themes are:
1. leadership is about who you are,
2. leadership is about how you act,
3. leadership is about what you do, and
4. leadership is about how you work with others (Hackman & Johnson, 2009).
From these definitional themes, this book illustrates that leadership focuses on the traits and attributes, the exercise of influence, importance of followers, and collaboration facet of leaders.


In the timespan from 1:37-8:14 of this video, Simon Sinek leads and inspires people to inspirationally lead. He expounds the aforementioned four primary dimensional themes through the “Golden Circle” model. Sinek approaches the pattern of inspirational leadership with minimal bias from and biological and anthropological approach with this model that codifies the three distinct and interdependent elements (Why, How, What) that makes any person or organization function at its highest ability (Sinek, 2009). “Everyone knows what he or she does. Some know how they do it. Few know why they do it (Sinek, 2009).” It is the innermost Why concept that explicates why people and organizations are more innovative, more influential, command greater loyalty and are able to repeat successes. With information of how to be the few, it increases one’s ability to inspire others repeatedly.

A correlated illustration of the Golden Circle alternative perspective is the “Cone”. The Cone is a three-dimensional representation to illustrate how the levels of the Golden Circle exist inside an organization to viewpoint demonstrates the flow of information through an organization and the relative roles and responsibilities (Sinek, 2009). The Cone exemplifies the differentiation between managers versus leaders. For example, managers are located in the middle of the organization with responsibilities to advance the Why and manage those at the What level and the leaders operate at the top of an organization with responsibilities for keeping the Why clear. As Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus researched the relationship between a manager and a leader, they found the key difference lies in the focus: managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing (Hackman & Johnson, 2009). Hackman, Johnson, and Sinek agree with focus of a manager is on efficiency whereas the focus of a leader is on effectiveness.

In conclusion, Sinek systemizes three critical leadership themes via an inspirational Golden Circle model to diminish the overabundance of blind followers and visionless leaders. In addition to the themes of leadership, the concept of leadership is further clarified with contrast to the leader-like role of manager. The differentiation is inherent in the focus of the roles and where the roles are located in the levels of the Cone model. All know What. Some know How. Few know Why. It is the select few who can combine the knowledge of Why with communication skills to be an inspirational leader.

The culminated knowledge of anthropology, biology, and communications of the lessons of Simon Sinek and the “Leadership: A Communication Perspective” book can be utilized to many for many useful applications. This has personally helped me to better understand myself as a follower to not support a person, product, or idea blindly to prevent myself from drowning in the mainstream without reason. Recently, I have been exploring all types of faiths and beliefs to explore my own self as opposed to adapting to the encompassing influences. It is critical to grow naturally without being swayed into adjustment. Additionally, this has helped me to better understand myself as a leader to have inherent power without holding official titles like many associate with a leader. Applications of this knowledge to develop in the areas of innovation, influence, and loyalty, can lead any person to be a repeatedly successful inspirational leader. Applications of this information can be utilized for everyone, followers and leaders alike to better themselves and better the world.


Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2009). Leadership and Communication. Leadership: a communication perspective (5 ed., pp. 10-16). Long Grove, Ill.: Waveland Press.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: how great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York: Portfolio.

Start With Why. (n.d.). Start With Why. Retrieved March 21, 2013, from


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