Likewise, the soldiers of Easy Company, of the 101st Airborne were just regular guys who responded to the call of our country to fight against the Axis Powers. They became heroes through deed, not through degrees or certifications. They had no idea that their experiences would inspire generations to follow, on how to truly lead others. There were no book signing deals or red-carpet promises made to them when the volunteered for the Airborne, other than an extra $50 a month.
What is most amazing, is that these leaders had to persevere, even when they were brought down to their lowest levels of self-esteem through circumstances beyond their anticipation. A true leader is able to work through near defeat, retreat, investigation, and even ostracizing from their comrades. The men in these books, along with countless others not mentioned knew when their leadership was necessary and exercised it without delay regardless of the title or position they held at the time. In many of these cases, these same individuals assumed more everyday roles once the burden was pulled, only later to activate themselves in completely different situations, but when certainly needed. My admiration for them stems from not just leading for their own needs, but because each one of them knew that it was their time to step up for something greater than any self-interest.
In business culture, where our accomplishments are so heavily weighted towards promotions, pay increases and appreciation; it is easy to lead for our own self interests. How easily forgotten is the virtue of true leadership, when we step up when needed without being asked or directly rewarded. I am thankful that I am able to read and enjoy these real stories, about true leaders, and share them with you.