Leadership Notes from This Week’s Big Story: Pope Francis


Photo courtesy of the Saint John’s Seminary Flickr Page

You’ve heard the big ruckus in the press this week?! Pope Francis arrived for the first time in the United States on Tuesday morning. President Obama greeted him personally along with Vice President Biden and their families. This is big news for every American, not just Catholics, because the Pope will address our congress and the United Nations with global implications.

Why blog about this? At Marchon Partners, we see five elements of Pope Francis’ leadership that you should incorporate into your own professional life. His wiliness to question the status quo, express joy at work, dialogue with everyone, lead by example in his partnership and invite everyone into his mission developing a shared vision. These qualities attract people to the Pope as a leader.

The Pope’s critical approach to “how we usually do it” offers a refreshing outlook on work. We often face roadblocks in meetings when mentioning a new process, especially in large organizations. Pope Francis addresses chronic issues in the Catholic Church, one of the worlds largest and most storied institutions, with a respectful candidness. He does not accept obsolete practices and directs the work of the Church and its government forward. Mimicking the Pope’s frankness (excuse the pun) with respect for the past, leaders can enhance organizations.

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Pictures of Pope Francis in his former life as Jorge Mario Bergolio of Buenos Aires compared to today amazes people. Why? The now older man always displays a broad welcoming smile instead of a stern look. Pope Francis brings joy to his daily work and attracts others to join him. Here in Boston, certain times of year tend to bog everyone down. The heat of summer and chilling cold of winter challenge me; however, enthusiasm inspires me most to get my work done. Someone might hear great news from his or her family or another closes a great deal. Joy and positive environments excite us. Pope Francis titled his first major document “Evangelii Gaudium” or “The Joy of the Gospel.” This man understands the power of joy in the human experience.

Stylistically, Pope Francis distinguishes himself by choosing to work side-by-side with everyone leading by example. His small actions make a difference including: carrying his own bag, arriving early to meetings to greet attendees, and working with great visibility and approachability. These things make clear that in his organization, everyone’s in it together. Often as employees, managers seem like distant administrators rather than guides and teachers. Leaders can learn from Pope Francis’ closeness to his teammates.

One of the most effective elements of the Pope’s leadership is his inclusive welcome to everyone. He values each person for his or her unique experience, expertise and desire to learn. Managers might perceive their underlings in a utilitarian way or as just another number; however, people want to work harder in situations where others value them. Encouraging everyone to contribute to the conversation in new ways separates great leaders.

Pope Francis treats everyone with respect inviting everyone to partner in his mission. Knowing your mission and communicating it succinctly wins great people to yield extraordinary results. Your shared mission joins different people together who then, through their personal contributions, shape a vision around how to achieve it. The best leaders join up with those who share their beliefs and work together to realize them. Today, more people want to get involved in the Catholic Church because they realize that their hopes align with the Pope’s.

These five characteristics help to shape our best leaders. Let us know what you love about your favorite leaders at work.

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