He had no reason to do it. There was literally nothing in it for himself. Fred (not his real name) had invested in this leader who was an integral part of his team. Now this same leader was resigning to go to another company. While is was a good opportunity for him, it was a blow to Fred's team. Most would have wished the defector well and ushered him or her right out the door. Fred is not most. He continued to invest in the leader and coached him on how to be successful in his new venture. Once the leader left the company, he continued to reach out to Fred for leadership coaching.
When we act in someone else's best interest, with no agenda or benefit to us, it is called inspirational leadership. It’s not seen very much in today's "what's in it for me" culture. There are no scripted formulas or 5 essential keys for inspiring others. It's simply putting the needs of others above yourself. It's more than just doing the right thing. It's doing the good and the right thing. It means caring enough about those around us to give unconditionally with no strings attached. On a personal level, when we say things like : I love you if … I will give you this, if you give me… I want something out of it… to those we care about, it sends a strong message of selfish intentions.
Leading with inspiration is a choice. Simply giving to someone, because it is the good thing to do, is how we as leaders can truly make a difference.