On March 13, 2013, 115 cardinals cast votes inside the Vatican to elect the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church. At 19:06 local time, white smoke could be seen drifting upwards following the election. The new pope, who would take the name Pope Francis, emerged from the conclave as the new leader of a global organization facing a number of serious issues.
Stepping onto the world stage, this new pope would inspire everyone with his humility and his concern for the poor. And, in so doing, he demonstrated a new model for leadership.
“Leadership is the ability to articulate a vision and get others to carry it out.” -Jeffrey Krames
Jeffrey Krames has written a new book about the pontiff, Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis. He offers a practical guide for how any leader can take the same principles to become an authentic and humble leader. I asked Jeff a few questions about his research.
What is it about Pope Francis that has made him so incredibly popular?
He is absolutely the real thing. I call him “The Authentic Leader.” How rare is that today? No political leaders seem to do anything for the betterment of anyone but themselves, and only after polling the issue. That is the opposite of Pope Francis, who is the most compassionate pope I have experienced in my lifetime. It is why I have dubbed him the “anti-Hitler.”
“If we can develop a truly humble attitude, we can change the world.” -Pope Francis
Advocate for the Least of These
What attracted and inspired you, as a Jewish author, to research and write a book about the new Catholic pope?
The answer above answers this question in part. Growing up in a “Holocaust household” is a very difficult thing to do. There are ghosts of all the people who have perished (and now my kids must grow up as third generation survivor). So I see Francis as the first person in my lifetime amazing enough to earn the moniker of the anti-Hitler. He is the 21st century’s answer to the 20th century’s most malevolent mass-murderer. Hitler hated and attempted to eradicate what he felt was society’s worst. Francis works every day to lift up the people who have the least—the ones who have been relegated to “society’s dustbin.”
12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis
- Lead with Humility.
- Smell Like Your Flock.
- Who Am I to Judge?
- Don’t Change-Reinvent.
- Make Inclusivity a Top Priority
- Avoid Insularity.
- Choose Pragmatism over Ideology.
- The Optics of Decision-Making.
- Run Your Organization Like a Field Hospital.
- Live on the Frontier.
- Overcoming vs. Sidestepping Adversity.
- Pay Attention to Non-Customers.
Pope Francis continues to gain popularity and press every month. How will Pope Francis influence leaders in other organizations?