It’s normal for a pope to re-enact the scene of Jesus washing the feet of those he serves.
Pope Francis took a different tack this year during Holy Week. He washed the feet of inmates.
The new pope is going out of his way to show humility.
He is shunning the trappings of Vatican life, i.e. gold crosses and riding in the “Pope mobile.”
He is showing servant leadership in a big way, just as Christ did in his time.
More of today’s leaders need to SERVE those they lead. They need to have the three main ingredients to good leadership: humility, integrity and generosity.
They don’t necessarily have to wash the feet of those who work with them. But their goals should be in line with the goals of those they lead. Anyone can give orders. Anyone can tell someone else that they don’t like something they did. But if they can’t HELP the person achieve what is necessary for THAT PERSON’S success, they just become people with power over others.
Power and leadership are not the same. Leaders may know what power they have, but rarely, if ever, exercise it. They feel their job is to help people realize their own potential. They believe their goals should not be self-centered, for they know their success will occur if they just help others succeed.
Leaders also know the difference between authority and influence. One’s authority can influence others, but others just feel compelled to follow. When one has influence, others WILLINGLY follow him and his advice. True leaders lead by example, not by order.
REAL LEADERS DON’T COMMAND RESPECT
The pope is not just a religious leader. He is the equivalent of a head of state. Pope Francis prefers to be recognized as the archbishop of Rome, not as a “head of state.” He believes his job is to serve the poorest of the poor, not have the poor serve him.
One need not be a Catholic to admire the shining example the new pope is showing not only to the public in general, but also to other leaders. Those who aspire to be leaders need to look at his example, not the example of those whose goals are self-centered.
True respect is never commanded. One should never expect respect. One must always do things that earn respect. Of course, one must carry on whether or not he gets respect from everyone. There will always be people who will never respect you. But true leaders set a path of service, without regard of self, or popular opinion. They work to help others. Then, as the world goes, good things come to them.
Leadership is attitude. True leaders may have aspired to be such, but, once in the position, never presume reward. They create self-reward by helping others. Deeds rule. Words – inspiring words – are just a tool.
If you aspire to leadership, ask yourself whether you want to be more like Pope Francis, or more like, say, a corporate titan consumed only by his own bottom line. Are you happiest when helping others, or when others are helping you, while under your duress?
If you aspire to be a servant leader, yet don’t know how best to go about it, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. That may provide the vehicle that will help you help the most people in the biggest way.
Of course, leadership is daily action. Are you doing all that you do sincerely, thinking of others first? If not, try it. You may find it refreshingly rewarding. When others around you succeed, you will succeed too. The more you help them, the more they will succeed. The more they succeed, the more rewards will come your way.