teamI can still recall almost months ago when we were in a meeting with all the leads and managers engaging in a heated debate regarding some policy changes and  company issues where it seems that no one gets to agree onto something. It was noisy. I was there along with my friend, Dong.

Dong is a manager of a company I need not to mention. He is stubborn but intelligent. He is quite noisy sometimes or most of the time but he listens well. He is the only person in the room who can disagree on almost everything with a smile and with a purpose – to bring out the best out of every idea.

He is the clown of the team. He is our Devil’s Advocate! On one instance, I remember he was arguing like hell for his team’s welfare that he was almost pressured to tender his resignation instantly. He started his career with everyone so impressed on him yet he risked everything just to advocate what is good for his people and what is professionally right. He could have sided at all times with the management to protect his job but he went for the greater good of all – to protect his team.

He was asked many times before by the management to tender his resignation and leave the company but even if he wanted to, he remained. At one point, he asked the CEO that he be given another chance to stay. His reason was simple, he wants to grow the team more until they are ready. Thus, he can leave without having to worry of the future of each member. Like a father, he wanted his kids to have security as well.

In one of the meetings, he took all the blame for all the blunders that his team owns even if some of them already turned their backs on him to secure their jobs. He never passed the blame. He took one blow after another just to show that his principle merits primacy over his position. He was one of the great leaders not just of the company but of the industry. He is Dong, a friend, a mentor, a manager and a brother.

Unfortunately just before Christmas of 2008, he was forcibly terminated and asked to tender his resignation for the last time by surprise upon his arrival to the office for a year-end meeting with the management team and the CEO. He just arrived from a meeting with a client and was barred from entering the conference room. People were informed prior that he is being fired. The act was too fast. He never even got the time to backup his files and pick some of his belongings. He got fired in an instant and so that day triggered mass resignations.

It was from him that I read first a very good resignation letter made by someone so senior as Dong. He professionally took the decision due to management’s alleged loss of trust that others see as a perfect plot just to get rid of him. It was a sad moment to go back to but I know that day made everyone even stronger and principled like him. Even to the very last minute of his tenure, he taught me one important aspect of leadership and that is COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY.

He was true indeed when he told the CEO and all the managers his last famous statement…