Nine days ago one of my very best friends for the past 35 years, Mike Feder, died of brain cancer. 1200 people went to his wake and 900 showed up for his funeral. As I talked with dozens of people at the hospital, wake, and funeral, and reflected on three-plus decades of memories, I kept asking myself how this relatively quiet man affected so many other people in such profound ways.
In the end, I landed on this answer: Feds always did things the right way in every part of his life.
He was not an unusual man. He worked, he volunteered, and he was a husband, father, brother, son, and friend. What made him special is that everything he did, he did it the right way. He never took a short cut.
His fellow emergency room doctors said, “Mike didn’t just act like he cared about his patients. He really did care. He always sat next to the patient and the family and really listened to what they had to say.”
His former soccer players for whom he was a volunteer youth soccer coach said, “He taught us to go after things. He always told us we would miss 100% of the shots we didn’t take.”
A priest in Uganda thanked him via email after his death for the foundation, Gotta Have Hope, that he and his wife, Joyce, founded to provide electricity, medical care, and educational supplies for a very poor school there.
If you want to be a great business leader, remember that way more important than your strategy or your speeches is your example, the way you behave on a daily basis in every area of your life. Really listen to other people and really care about them. That’s what made Mike Feder an extraordinary leader. Thank you, Feds, for everything you taught me.