The greatest test of our integrity and character is the way we treat other people. ~Peter Drucker
Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, regarding both his decision and communication about banning Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers, from the NBA for life. That was a clear act of leadership, and I wondered, will we hear from Adam Silver again or was this more of a leadership one-hit wonder. Thanks to a friend who shared a post on Facebook, since I don’t follow the NBA, I learned that Adam Silver, once again, demonstrated real leadership during the NBA draft. Borrowing from ESPN here's a snippet of the story.
Four days before the 2014 NBA draft, Isaiah Austin—a 7-foot-1 center out of Baylor projected to be a late first- or early second-round selection—learned he'd never play professional basketball. On Thursday night, he learned that wouldn't stop him from being part of the NBA.
Midway through the first round of Thursday's draft, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver pressed pause on the proceedings and made the best pick of the night.
"Before we continue tonight, I want to take a moment to recognize Baylor center Isaiah Austin," Silver said, eliciting applause from the crowed at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "You may have heard about Isaiah. He is one of the nation's best collegiate players, and was expected to be picked tonight before the discovery just a few days ago that he had a genetic disorder called Marfan syndrome and is no longer able to play competitive basketball. Like the other young men here tonight, Isaiah committed himself through endless hard work and dedication to a potential career as a professional basketball player, and we wanted to make sure he fulfilled at least this part of his dream." "So it gives me great pleasure to say," Silver continued, "that with the next pick in the 2014 NBA draft, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin from Baylor University."
Of course the crowd erupted with a standing ovation as Isaiah walked across the stage. What Silver did demonstrated real character. There was no need for Silver to recognize Isaiah, but I dare say it not only changed Isaiah's life but also impacted the thousands in the Barclays Center and the many more, like me, who've learned of his gesture through layers of social media. Using Drucker's test of integrity and character, I think the way that Silver treated Isaiah showed tremendous character and integrity.
Now and then I come across organizations where the leadership is disappointed with how their employees are treating one another. And sometimes I'm even asked how we can change the way that they behave. When leaders ask this question I've found it's typically an indicator that the leaders are modeling a less than desirable type of behavior and employees are modeling what they see. If leaders want to see their employees treat one another differently, then maybe they need to first look in the mirror. How are members of the leadership team treating one another? Are they modeling the character and integrity of Adam Silver?
Maybe this week, we should all take the Drucker test and look really hard at how we are treating others. Based on how we treat others, would we be considered leaders with character and integrity?