Leadership Lessons from a Surprising Source

September 30, 2015 by FlexPro

phillyAs almost everyone knows by now, the Pope came to visit Philadelphia this past weekend. If you’re from around the area you also know that for the last few weeks leading up to his visit it’s been all Pope news, all the time. The Mayor of Philadelphia was saying that he expected that over one million people could be converging on the city trying to be part of this historic event. There were extraordinary security measures taken, road detours, special train schedules, school and business closures prior to his arrival, parking restrictions…the list goes on and on. This is a big deal for the city of Philadelphia and I’m not sure too many of us have seen such extreme preparation taken for any other event before.

Around here you can’t help but follow the progress of how the city is getting ready, it’s been on every news broadcast, on every local station, every single day for the past few weeks. And while I know many people who are going to try and find their way into the city through all the detours, road closures and limited train stops in order to be part of the excitement, there are many who are also anxious for it to be over so things can get back to normal in the greater Philly area. If nothing else, watching the coverage sure made it an interesting weekend.

I’ve been reading a few things regarding the Pope and his message, and have followed his progress from Washington D.C. to New York City then finally on to Philadelphia. In listening to what he’s had to say I realized you don’t have to be Catholic or even religious to appreciate his wisdom. I recently came across a book on Amazon written by Jeffrey A. Krames titled, “Lead With Humility” that I’m looking forward to reading. As you may know, Rose and I have a habit of taking information and ideas and relating them back to leadership and Project Management. We’re always looking for ways to improve ourselves and bring that knowledge back to our team. The title caught my eye because it talked about leadership, the jacket photo caught my eye because it was of Pope Francis. I’d never really thought about him in regard to business practices, but since he is the leader of one of the largest organizations in the world I figured it was worth a look. The description on Amazon is copied below:

“When Fortune announced its list of the World’s Greatest Leaders, the top spot was awarded – not to a captain of industry – but to the new pontiff. In the year since his elect
ion, Pope Francis 
earned that accolade…and more. He has achieved the remarkable: breathed life into an aging institution, reinvigorated a global base, and created real hope for the future. How did a man who spent his life laboring in slums far from the Vatican manage to do this and so quickly? The answer lies in his humility – and the simple principles that spring from it. Lead with Humility explores 12
of these principles and shows how leaders and managers can adapt them for the workplace with equally impressive results. They include: don’t stand over your employees – sit down with them; avoid insularity; don’t judge – assess; take care of people, not lobbies; go where you are needed; temper ideology with pragmatism; and, don’t change – reinvent! The boldest course can be the most prudent. Pope Francis’ ability to inspire the world is unprecedented in modern times. Lead with Humility reveals the power of his methods, and helps anyone lead with grace and greater authenticity.”

I’m intrigued as to what his viewpoints on these topics will be and interested to see how he translates them to the business world. I’ve always tried to be a leader who inspires with a balance of confidence and humility but I’m always trying to learn to be better.  I’d love a little inspiration from a leader who seems unassuming but influential at the same time.  Drop me a line, I’m curious if any of you have read this book and what your thoughts on it were? Have you been able to incorporate any of his principles into your management style? In the meantime, I hope he enjoyed his historic visit to our city. It certainly seems as though the “City of Brotherly Love” has rolled out the red carpet for him!

Lynn Faughey, Chief Operating Officer, The FlexPro Group

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