Experts POol


Step back and be quiet! Your ability to do that may be critical to your success as a Leader. As you read this you may be thinking: Really? Aren’t leaders, by definition, expected to step out courageously, clearly articulating their vision and encouraging others to focus time and talent on accomplishing the organization’s goals? Leaders are supposed to step up and lead! 

And you are right. It’s also true that a great leader knows the importance of having some quiet time to thoughtfully consider how best to lead. That is one of many  observations about the leadership style of the Pope Francis that Chris Lowney makes in his wonderful new book, published by Loyola Press, "Pope Francis – Why he Leads the Way he Leads." Lowney served as a Managing Director of J.P. Morgan on three continents and is the current Chair of Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation’s largest health care systems. He is also a former Jesuit seminarian. He interviewed people who knew our first Jesuit Pope as Father Jorge Bergoglio, S.J. Those interviews and his deep knowledge of Ignatian Jesuit Formation inform Lowney’s rich insights into our new Pope’s fully authentic and inspiring leadership style.

Certainly, the man who was selected to lead the Catholic Church at this point in history is facing significant challenges. At one point in the book, Chris Lowney writes:

"Many new leaders are quickly swamped by the volume and complexity of issues that assault them. How does a new pope – or hospital manager, or a parent for that matter – possibly keep up with it all? The counterintuitive, even paradoxical answer? Step back from it all."

Then he recalls for the reader some advice that Fr. Bergoglio, then Rector of Colegio Maximo, gave a young fellow Jesuit, Fr. Tomas Bradley:

"If your life will be highly active, you need to commit to a regimen of reflection in order to survive."

Makes perfect sense. So why does it feel like it would be so hard to apply this wisdom to our lives? Why don’t we take more time to reflect? Why don’t we make it a point every day to set aside a little time to Step Back and Be Quiet? Really, why not? 

There’s much to inspire all of us to be authentic, reflective, effective leaders in Chris Lowney’s new book.
I highly recommend it!

Mary Alice TierneyMary Alice Tierney, Sp '72, is an executive coach at Right Management, ManpowerGroup.




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