“The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.” – Simon Sinek
Every year on December 7th we hear about the attack on Pearl Harbor, “A date that will live in infamy.” Our lives changed in that day…yes, each and every one of us, irrespective of age. For that is the moment that drove us to superpower status. Before December 7, 1941, the United States had the 14th largest military in the world and was a country going through a time of isolationism. The war produced “the greatest generation,” and they, in turn, produced the next generations.
But that’s not the end of the gifts. On CBS Sunday Morning, in an interview with some of the remaining survivors of Pearl Harbor, one of them said something we’ve heard many times before, but rarely pay much attention to.
“I live every day as if it were my last.”
That concept doesn’t get much long term traction because the activities of life take over, and we think of it from our own perspective. But what if, as leaders, we looked at today as our last day through the lens of how our leadership looks to the people around us? Would others see us as the leader Sinek talked about?
How would you lead differently if tomorrow were your last day? Would you be irritated as often? Would you talk about the people around you any differently? If you had only the one day, would you think about your legacy? Conversely, would you be more honest with people if it were your last day? Would you still kick the “I have to talk with them about that challenge someday” can down the road once again, or deal with difficult issues when they come up? Would you be more grateful for the opportunity your team gives you?
We all have the gift of this kind of foresight available, and we all can sacrifice at least some self-interest if we choose to.