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Pope Francis on the 15 diseases of leadership

Pope Francis understands that self-absorbed, myopic leaders are a liability for any organization.

Pope Francis has quickly become one of the most effective and beloved leaders in the world by demonstrating remarkable humility, energy, honesty and courage.pope francis

In an address late last year to the Roman Curia  – the assembly of Cardinals and other officials that run the Catholic Church – he itemized an array of leadership maladies that can cripple any organization. While the Church is made up of hundreds of millions of Faith-filled men and women, Pope Francis reminds us that our humanness makes us all susceptible to these “leadership diseases.”

Harvard Business Review contributor Gary Hamel does a nice job summarizing the Pope’s points in a set of leadership self-assessment questions. Ask yourself to what extent do I . . .

  1. Feel superior to those who work for me?
  2. Demonstrate an imbalance between work and other areas of life?
  3. Substitute formality for true human intimacy?
  4. Rely too much on plans and not enough on intuition and improvisation?
  5. Spend too little time breaking silos and building bridges?
  6. Fail to regularly acknowledge the debt I owe to my mentors and to others?
  7. Take too much satisfaction in my perks and privileges?
  8. Isolate myself from customers and first-level employees?
  9. Denigrate the motives and accomplishments of others?
  10. Exhibit or encourage undue deference and servility?
  11. Put my own success ahead of the success of others?
  12. Fail to cultivate a fun and joy-filled work environment?
  13. Exhibit selfishness when it comes to sharing rewards and praise?
  14. Encourage parochialism rather than community?
  15. Behave in ways that seem egocentric to those around me?

Hamel isn’t Catholic but he goes on to make an impassioned case for the Pope’s points:

Like a battery of medical tests, these questions can help you zero in on opportunities to prevent disease and improve your health. A Papal leadership assessment may seem like a bit of a stretch. But remember: the responsibilities you hold as a leader, and the influence you have over others’ lives, can be profound. Why not turn to the Pope – a spiritual leader of leaders – for wisdom and advice?

Have a great week.

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