Stephen Crane’s circa-1900 short story, The Open Boat, offers a narrative about the importance of caring.
In the story, an injured captain leads his crew in a small lifeboat after the sinking of their ship in frigid winter seas.
The captain offers directions such as, “Keep ’er a little more south, Billie,” or “Take her easy now, boys … Don’t spend yourselves. If we have to run a surf, you’ll need all your strength because we’ll sure have to swim for it. Take your time.”
He offers ideas, such as a makeshift sail to rest the rowers. Crane suggests the captain’s leadership through asides like “the subtle brotherhood of men that was here established … each man felt it warm him.”
Of the four-man crew, the oiler is strongest and healthiest. When the captain attempts a run ashore against the surf, the oiler jumps out, tries swimming to shore alone and drowns. The others stick together under their leader and survive.
— Adapted from Giraffes of Technology: The Making of the 21st Century Leader, Hubert Glover and John Curry, CreateSpace.