From the beginning, the 266th Pope showed the world that he would somehow be different. Pope Francis declined fancy shoes, a palace apartment, and the protected “Pope Mobile”. He said, he opted instead for more modest loafers, the Vatican guesthouse, and a bus ride.
Pope Francis’s model of leadership is one of authenticity, commitment, and understanding. He leads from a place of humility in order to serve the greater good and is an example for all leaders to follow.
Here’s what small business leaders in particular can learn from Pope Francis about leading:
- Master self-leadership first. Each person must be able to lead themselves before they can lead others. This self-leadership ability comes from a deep understanding of who they really are. This includes examining both their good and bad attributes. They then need to identify other people that can fill these gaps. The second step is to have courage to always be oneself. It is key to become a direct and authentic person that employees respect, admire, and want to follow.
- Commit to development. Never stop learning how to be a better leader. Just like every company should never become comfortable with profits or market position, a business leader should never settle on “good enough” leadership. All leaders need to look to who they can learn from inside and outside the organization. This includes not only other managers, but other individual employees.
- Work directly with the team. Small business leaders spend a lot of time with their customers, so they know what their problems are. In the same way, small business leaders need to work closely with their employees in order to understand their particular issues and goals to be able to match those to the company’s objectives.
- Lead selflessly. Effective small business leaders put their own self-interests aside in order to serve the greater mission their business has. When their interests diverge from the company’s, this is where that business begins to fail.
Pope Francis’s leadership is a reminder of what a great leader looks like. With authentic and humble leadership, every team will work harder, be more loyal and make it easier to grow a profitably company.
What non-business leaders have you learned from?