Many baby boomers have spent days in conferences, workshops and endless events learning about leadership. As someone who supervised others for over 20 years, I remember when we were all “shifting our paradigms” and of course, “thinking outside the box.” Never did find the box. Now we are focused on who may be "throwing someone under the bus.” I actually walked outside one day and came in to report “there is no bus and therefore no one is under it. What are you trying to tell me?” Today, the jargon includes “transformational leadership,” transforming others, of course with "robust conversations." Oh, please.
The leaders I admire are people who lead with self-confidence, not seminar jargon. Good leaders take the long view of the future and empower talented workers to do their jobs – then give those workers the tools as well as credit for their success. My management training came not from seminars and conferences, but from working with leaders possessing compassion, grace and wisdom. And humor.
Authentic leaders must be concerned about doing the right thing for the organization, leading with confidence and compassion as well as admitting their own limitations. When people lead with humility and self-awareness as well as vision for the future – employees follow eagerly.
Author Chris Lowney, a former Jesuit seminarian, has written a book on leadership “Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads.” Lowney claims that Francis is simply being who he is – not trying to act like a pope.
Lowney writes: “Be comfortable in your own skin. Know who you are, the good and the bad. And find the courage not just to be yourself, but to be the best version of yourself. These are the foundations of self-leadership, and all leadership starts with self-leadership because you can’t lead the rest of us if you can’t lead yourself.”
Makes perfect, paradigm-shifting, papal sense.
(S-R archive photo: Pope Francis wears an indigenous headdress given to him by Ubirai Matos from the Pataxo tribe, fourth from left, after the pontiff spoke at Rio's Municipal Theater to an audience mostly made up of Brazil's political, business and cultural elite in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 27, 2013.)