WSJ Article: Lt. Withers’ Act of mercy has an unexpected sequel by Brian Gruley

April 8, 2010

Wow, what a great article by Brian Gruley, it really hit me on the head. This article does exhibit an extraordinary leadership style by an Army lieutenant John Withers putting his wants and needs last to assist and help the needs and wants of other human beings in the battle of “World War II”. Touchy stories we never see happening in today’s business organizations, much less in the battlefields.

U.S. Officer, as the article stated, broke the rules to let the two men, Salomon and Peewee, join his group of black people by hiding them.  It is amazing what Lt. John Withers did,  he really risked it all as he could have lost everything, not only his honorable job but also the Ph.D. he wanted so badly. Better yet, he helped the two men by giving them the protection that they needed, fed them and prepared them good enough so that they both were able to go their own way, otherwise they could have lost their lives in the war.

This incredible decision Lt. Withers made in 1945, near the end of World War II, demonstrates a real powerful life-changing leadership as he did not overrule his conscience-based decision, instead he was moved by some wonderful parts of the power of love, compassion, and forgiveness, such unseen and unspeakable characteristics that can foster great healing in the organizations nowadays. Therefore, I do applaud the leadership style Lt. Withers portrays in this article, which I love it since his generous personality give us a great insight of what it takes to be an authentic leader. So his generosity side was the greatest key takeaway from this reading.

So, I found this reading to be pretty touchy and interesting one as it embraces really good guiding principles that managers do need to consider now and in the future to lead their organizations effectively, so see below the key points I took away from it:

  • Put others before yourself
  • Have a seed of generosity within us to give freely without coercion or being rewarded in return so that we go above and beyond our call of duty.
  • Have a mindset of love, compassion, and forgiveness to set our organizations up for long-term success.
  • Peewee was cared for and protected by Lt. John Withers, now he cares for others, so this is the culture we really want to instill in our organizations: Be generous to help each other out!       
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