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Chris' Blog

What it Means To Be Alpha: Serotonin, the leadership chemical

Posted on November 16, 2016 at 8:30 PM

It seems that everyone in today’s society wants to be an Alpha (fe)male. They see a picture of a wolf with a quote about being a lonely wolf at the top or a cowardly sheep at the bottom then race to their friends section on Facebook and start deleting everyone…well, not quite but they definitely attempt to justify why no one wants to sit next to them at the cafe.


Regardless, Alphas are top dog, they get what they want and bow down to no one, right? Well, no. Simon Sinek made a great point about Alphas that evolution has trained people to treat Alphas better than the rest of us. With a little help from Serotonin, people are trained to recognize status. Prehistorically, this meant to give Alphas the first meal, make sure they were full, and ensure they got plenty of sleep. In return, these Alphas were expected to stand up for us during times of danger. When all hell breaks loose, followers are cashing in their chips in hopes that the Alpha steps up to the plate and keeps them safe.


These Alphas were our first leaders. They were given special perks in exchange for safety. We as followers trust in these leader hopefuls that when push came to shove, they shoved harder than the other guy and they did so to protect their pack.



Where this scenarios goes wrong is when Alphas are not leaders. Today’s society trades special perks to our leaders in hope that they will take care of us by providing safe environments such as was provided to our ancestors. However, the modern marketplace makes it far too easy to replace or frighten employees into thinking they may lose their job if they do not perform to par. It is this same negative environment that stomps creativity and halts progress in an organization and it can all be traced back to poor leadership.


Leadership is something to be trusted in individuals who have shown us some means of providing us with safety. Safety in our creativity, safety in our workplace, and safety in our overall well-being. When leaders fail to provide positive environments they fail to live up to their title as Alpha and should thus be treated appropriately.


Leaders are expected to drop their comforts at a moments notice for their followers, it is why followers place faith in them. Mr. Sinek said, “if you’re not willing to give up your perks when it matters, then you’re not cut to be a leader.” Leaders need to understand there is more to being top dog than a title and perks. It’s a privilege that has been trusted and passed down for countless generations to us. It is our responsibility as leaders and followers to ensure the leaders of tomorrow live up to their ancestors by understanding the responsibility of being Alpha prior to taking on that role. It’s not just their life that is being affected by the manner in which Alphas choose to live, but those who follow them into history.

Stay active, 

Chris Johnson 


Categories: Coaching Theory, Contemporary Issues in Sport

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