John McCain died of brain cancer on August 25, 2018.
Newt Gingrich shared a surprising story about McCain.
Gingrich writes, “One of my most personal encounters with John was in 1986 when I was in a very intense fight with the House Democratic leadership. Two physically large House Democrats came over and said they were sick and tired of what I was doing and I ought to know there would be a payback. One of them said, ‘We are coming for you.’
I had not realized that McCain had calmly come over to stand next to me. When the Democrat sounded threatening, John instinctively stepped closer to me and said, ‘When you come for Newt, come for me too, the name’s McCain.’” (FOX)
McCain was a first term congressman when this happened.
You might be tempted to attribute McCain’s behavior to political theatrics. I heard people say that McCain understood and leveraged political theatrics. But when you know that he refused early release in the late 1960’s from the Hanoi Hilton to stand with his fellow POW’s, you realize that McCain knows how to stand with people.
It costs a leader to stand with others. It’s so costly that some leaders hang team members out to dry when they screw up.
You probably know what it’s like to drive a stake in the ground beside a team member only to have him casually drive a stake in your back. It might have been ignorance on their part. It may have been malice, but the pain is the same.
There IS advantage to standing with others when it seems there’s only disadvantage. Frankly, that’s the time it matters most.
You earn trust when you stand with others.
How might you stand with others today?
(This post is not an endorsement of anyone’s politics. Nor do I suggest that McCain always acted admirably. This is a leadership blog. I will delete any comments that take the discussion down a political hole.)