One of the hardest parts about being a leader is doing what's right, even if it means suffering a consequence as a result.
Ever since the school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida, the United States has been in a heated but much-needed debate over gun laws, school security, and how to prevent future gun-related tragedies from happening.
Oddly enough, it's not the political leaders, but business leaders, who are taking a stand.
Since the Parkland shooting, a number of major companies and their top executives have released memos alerting the public that they'll be severing business ties with the NRA--the organization responsible for keeping the country's astonishingly lax gun laws firmly in place. While politicians dance happily with the NRA's donations jingling in their pocket, business leaders of major companies are the ones choosing what's right over what's profitable.
This is what leadership is all about.
Delta Airlines, an Atlanta-based company, receives significant tax breaks from the state of Georgia. However, after the Parkland shooting, Delta moved to sever business ties with the NRA, resulting in a strong-armed response from Georgia policymakers.
According to The Chicago Tribune, "Businesses have every legal right to make their own decisions, but the Republican majority in our state legislature also has every right to govern guided by our principles," said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
The article goes on to cite Cagle's Twitter: ""I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with the @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back."
This conflict perfectly summarizes the leadership issue America is facing today.
Money versus justice.
Isn't it ironic: The leaders responsible for ensuring a business remains profitable (CEOs) are the ones supporting justice--and the leaders responsible for supporting justice (politicians), have prioritized personal profit.
What separates a real leader from a follower-wearing-a-hat is being able to witness a part of the system break down, hear the people involved, and then work to fix what isn't working.
As surely more companies step forward to take matters into their own hands, it's worth taking a moment to imagine how difficult it is for these CEOs to make decisions they know will cause negative backlash.
But this is the sort of leadership we need right now.