- March 15, 2021
- Posted by: ThistlePraxis Consulting
- Category: Articles
Attempts to analyze leadership tend to fail because instead study popularity, power, showmanship, or wisdom in long-range planning. While some leaders have these things, they are not of the essence of leadership.
As a highlight of Pope Benedict’s resignation in 2013, we will be examining leadership and the different facets to it:
1. KNOWING WHEN TO QUIT: There comes a time when every leader has to look him or herself in the mirror and say, “Its time to move on.” There is no indignity to this. Just a recognition that (a) they have fulfilled their roles in the season of time they have occupied their respective positions of influence and (b) it is time to pass the baton on to a new generation that can run with the vision with a new sense of purpose and vigor.
2. MISSION VERSUS POSITION: In our post-modern world, too many leaders are so wrapped up in their positions and titles, that they will do everything and anything possible to stay on their lofty perches, while ensuring that every pretender to the ‘throne’ is prevented or dissuaded from even thinking about it. In essence their positions have become idols. However, Pope Benedict realizes that the position he is relinquishing is temporal and that the larger universal mission of the Catholic Church is a whole lot bigger than himself. If his physical body is going to be a detriment to his spiritual responsibilities, then something had to give. In this case, it was going to be his position, and not the mission of the Church.
3. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU: Humble leaders always recognize it is not about them, but rather, the larger organization and constituencies that they serve. While there is precedence for a Pope resigning from office, lets keep in mind that this was almost a thousand years ago! As a leading theologian and historian, Pope Benedict must have been aware of the ground shaking reverberations that would accompany his announcement. But at the end of the day, it all came down to – “Its not about me.”
4. THE INSTITUTION OR ORGANIZATION YOU LEAD IS GREATER THAN YOU. It will continue long after you have left the scene. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh. Have fun.
5. GO WITH YOUR GUT INSTINCT. Some call it an intuitive sense, a sixth sense, your inner spirit, or a strong impression. We’ve all had experiences when we’ve had to rely on nothing but our gut instinct in the face of great odds. Truth is, leaders lead. While consensus is beneficial, when the chips are down, great leaders lead by instinct and not necessarily by what popular opinion dictates.
6. KEEP IT CLOSE TO THE CHEST. Talk is cheap. Many times great ideas are aborted simply because they were announced too soon. Many times, leaders deeply ponder issues and take their own counsel. This was one of those instances. A weighty issue of this magnitude is not something the Pope could have allowed to leak through ‘trusted’ aides. When the time was right, he did it his way.
7. STAND FOR SOMETHING. It’s called Integrity…the currency of leadership. Without integrity, leaders cannot lead. We live in a vacuous world of politicians who increasingly stand for everything, and therefore nothing. Today, leaders of thought and faith are constantly under pressure to compromise convictions and values … many times, simply to appease a marginal few. In 2005, when the conclave elected Cardinal Ratzinger to fill the enormous spiritual shoes of Pope John Paul II, many critics of the church assumed the new Pope would soften his stance on a number of foundational moral issues. Those expectations were never met, up to the very end. In a 2010 interview, the Pope hinted that he could potentially step down if he felt he ever felt he was unable to fulfill the responsibilities of his office. He did.