A recent visit to Tampa Bay to work with a friend and his special operations team provided a moment that I will never forget.
As I was leading our team-building session, an officer came in and announced that the funeral procession of a soldier from the base that had lost his life in Afghanistan would be passing by at 10:30 a.m. Our leader made the decision to stop our session and go outside to pay our respects.
At 10:30 a.m., we went out front with the rest of the staff in the building, along with other soldiers. It was a beautiful, warm day in Tampa, and people talked quietly waiting for the procession. Most of the long street was lined with people waiting to show their respect.
The moment the first police motorcycle was seen, soldiers snapped to attention and civilians stood quietly. Three motorcycles passed with lights on but sirens silent, and then the white hearse. As it passed by, carrying the body of the slain soldier, fellow soldiers saluted and civilians placed their hands over their hearts.
In the car following, the wife of the soldier looked at everyone lining the street and put her hands over her face, crying quietly.
Walking back into the building, there was total silence. I am sure that in addition to appreciating the sacrifice of that soldier, people were remembering a loved one that they had lost. There was no need to speak, and yet in that moment I felt emotionally bound to every person around me.
A woman walking behind me cried, a man beside me kept his head down, and we all realized that in that casket was someone’s son, husband, and friend.
Next time we get caught up in a political battle in Corporate America, we need to hold on to what’s important in this very brief life. Every person matters, every person has a family, every person wants to do a good job, every person wants to live life to its fullest. And, some people are willing to give their lives for others.
Do you lead in a way that shows respect for the lives and contributions of others?
Today, take a moment and remember what matters. Breathe in, breathe out, and thank God for the next breath. Reach out to somebody that works for you and ask how they are doing. Then listen when they answer you. There is a human connection that can be broken by neglect, but can be built into phenomenal success when nurtured.
You don’t lead human resources, you lead humans. Treat them humanely today.