Leading With Joy

I’m not Catholic, but my wife is. So I’ve been an “observer” of the religion and leadership in the church for decades. In fact, my wife was in St. Peter’s Square and saw the white smoke go up when John Paul II was selected. Pretty cool experience for her!

I work with CEOs and marvel at how well most of them deal with the pressure of leadership. They’re always “on stage,” second-guessed by everyone in the organization, the shareholders and the public.

Imagine, however, ramping that up to the level of the pope. When you are the one person who’s supposed to speak for God, you might feel just a bit dumbstruck! That and the fact that you have to wear all of those weird clothes! I guess Pope Benedict longed for T-shirts and sweatpants so retired early.

My casual observance of popes gives me no special insight into their doctrine, but I’m fascinated by the leadership styles of the past two popes, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. Which one would you like to have a beer with?

Leaders don’t have to be dour to be serious. Showing concern and being enthusiastic don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Having a “lightness of being” will develop more commitment in your followers than looking and acting like you just had a colonoscopy.

I’m not qualified to judge the pope’s content, direction or strategy. Although I help CEOs articulate this for companies, I’ve yet to read my first papal encyclical. 

The right content or direction is only part of the battle. How you deliver that content is also important. The leaders I work with who are humble, humorous and passionate and who have a lightness of being have a major advantage over those who are dour and play the heavy most of the time. 

Think about the person you most want to have a beer with, and develop those qualities!

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