Ken Anderson was employed at Disney as an animator and had just bought a new cigarette lighter. In a story meeting he offered to light Walt’s cigarette and the fumes from the lighter fluid ignited and singed Walt’s iconic mustache, blistering his nose.
Ken was certain that he would be fired. For the rest of the day his coworkers ignored him, not wanting to be associated with his demise. He was spiraling and found no help from his fellows.
Walt noticed Ken struggling from his office so that night he shaved his mustache and approached Ken’s desk the next day to ask, “What are you doing for lunch?”
The two men ate together in the cafeteria, in front of the rest of Disney Animation, and Walt didn’t mention his mustache once.
A CEO once cared about and understood the wellbeing of his coworkers and employees. Since when did we start judging our leaders by anything else?