Lead With Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis

Pope Francis blesses faithful

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 FrancisHe 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.

 

Be Authentic.

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

  1.  Lead with Humility.
  2. Smell Like Your Flock.
  3. Who Am I to Judge?
  4. Don’t Change-Reinvent.
  5. Make Inclusivity a Top Priority
  6. Avoid Insularity.
  7. Choose Pragmatism over Ideology.
  8. The Optics of Decision-Making.
  9. Run Your Organization Like a Field Hospital.
  10. Live on the Frontier.
  11. Overcoming vs. Sidestepping Adversity.
  12. Pay Attention to Non-Customers.

 

 

 

Pope Francis continues to gain popularity and press every month.  How will Pope Francis influence leaders in other organizations?

What’s Your Yes?

Some people are defined by “yes”.  They live to fulfill their “yes”.  They dream, plan and act all according to their “yes.”  Everything they do revolves around the “yes” of their own lives.

Their opposites are “no” people.  These are people who don’t live for their “yes.”  Instead, they just try to avoid their own “no.”  They never discover their own potential.

My friend Mike Glenn recently wrote a book called The Gospel of Yes.  I asked him about the title of this book.  He grew up in a way and in a church that defined life with “no.”  (As in no drinking, no smoking, no this and no that.)

But, he later realized that life’s power is in the “yes”:

It’s not what we are against, but what we are for.

It’s not what you’re bad at, but what you’re good at.

It’s not about your limitations, but about your gifts.

3 Steps to Building Your Online Presence With Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is quick to tell you that he is first and foremost a pastor.  And, while that is true, he also has a strong online presence that uniquely qualifies him to talk about social media.  His leadership blog is widely read, and he is active on Twitter and Facebook.

I met Ron online through Twitter, and we began discussing various leadership issues.  Just north of Nashville Ron started one of the fastest growing churches in the U.S.  He recently moved to Kentucky to lead another church.  Before he joined the ministry, Ron was a business owner.  His experiences running a small business, starting and rapidly growing organizations, and leading online were all topics I wanted to ask him in person.

In this nine-minute interview, we discuss:

  • The similarities and differences between leading a business and a church
  • How he has grown a church through the use of technology and social media
  • Why he was an early adopter of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and blogging
  • How he found his “blogging voice”
  • Mistakes he made along the way

I especially appreciated Ron’s advice to leaders who want to start building an online presence:

My Visit to Lakewood Church

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Photo courtesy of Lakewood Church

Joel Osteen is the Senior Pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church, the largest church in the U.S.  He’s immediately recognizable from his television ministry, bestselling books and stadium appearances.

Pastor Osteen has a consistent message of encouragement and hope.  That inspirational message resonates with the members of his home church and also with the millions who tune in to his weekly broadcast.