What would you do if your brother was contemplating suicide? In such moments, screw business objectives. There’s only one job to get done.
A friend shares that he and his wife were starting their vacation when an email flashed on his phone: “I’m sorry.” He opened the note: “I love you.”
He handed the phone to his wife. “Does that sound like a suicide threat?”
The email was from his brother. He pulled the car to the side of the road and made a call. His brother wouldn’t talk to anyone – but him.
“It was bad,” our friend reported. “He was really thinking about doing this thing. And in the space of seconds I couldn’t think of anything to tell him – I could only think of what to ask him.
“Crazy as it is, the Homeward Bound Framework came to mind. In the past I would have lectured him – told him why it was so important that he live. But these tools really work. Asking questions…this had to be his choice to live. Not mine.”
Slowly, the brother shifted. “By the end of the call, we even laughed. And it was over the stupidest thing: his cooking. But it was a laugh. It was a beginning.”
“My brother’s getting the help he needs now. And the gift is as much mine as it is his. It’s the proof I need that I can lead in any situation.”
Go on – we must all go on – driving for greater business results. For now, it’s what makes the world go around. But stand up if you’re done subscribing to the notion that your leadership is only reserved for the benefit of share-holders you’ll never meet. Stand up if you believe that in the course of the day-after-day grind, we can use our pursuit of money and security as a mechanism for something greater: developing lives worth living. And, in the case of our friend, even lives worth saving.
Still looking for your reason to be a great leader? Be your reason.