Compassionate Acts of Selfless Service
Seven Principles of Workplace ‘Heroism’
Like so many Americans I watched the terrible events of September 11, 2001, on public television, as people leaped to their death or ran terrified from the burning towers of the World Trade Center to escape the holocaust within. (I met with some of the survivors and rescuers about a year later.) In stark contrast to those painful images, the media were flooded with visages of police and firefighters plunging headlong into the morass of devastation, risking – and in many cases – sacrificing their own lives to save others. What motivated them to do these feats, I asked myself? Was it merely the dictates of some job description? Some code of ethics that stated what must be done in times of crisis? Was it some innate human quality or raw instinct that drove them to act as if against all logic? It couldn’t have been for some anticipated glory or lure of extra duty pay. No ‘boss’ could have driven these exceptional performers to achieve beyond all reasonable expectations. So, what was it?