Three Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis

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Pope2Most would agree that the current situation in the Roman Catholic Church is a leadership challenge.   The issues Pope Francis faces are complex, emotional, global and cut across both tradition and faith.  Constituents are crying out for simple solutions and decisions but there are none.  It’s a job not for the faint of heart but Pope Francis heard the call and in just a few days made a huge positive impact.  In just his first week his approval rating was at record high levels for a Pope.

Some might say the answer is that he hasn’t done anything yet.  But the real answer is he has done oh so much.  He has established himself as a leader and in so doing has repositioned the role of the Pope.  How did he do it?   What did he do?  Here is the how and the what:

  • He was Authentic.  He revealed much about himself and how we would operate.  Even though he could have, he didn’t change over night because he had a super elevated role.
  • He sent a message of Positive Change.  Everything the new Pope did and said sent a message of hope and change.  From is simple mass to his simple robes, he sent a message of simplicity, change and hope.
  • He showed Humility.  When Pope Francis jumped out of the Popemobile to kiss a severely handicapped man, everyone knew this was a man of the people.  He will listen and pay attention to those around him.

The new Pope has said nothing about women priests, birth control, gay marriage or sex abuse or any of the other big decisions he faces.  Yet, through simple words and simple actions he has demonstrated he will be a real leader and we are all cheering for him.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much, to do a lot.  That’s the new Pope’s leadership lesson.

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