Sixty Minutes just produced a lengthy piece on Pope Francis and what is driving his world wide popularity. He was after all, Time’s Person of The Year. You could sum it all up in one word - HUMILITY. It is the Pope’s humility that is drawing the admiration of millions. For instance, every Holy Thursday, which is the Thursday just before Easter, it is an ancient tradition for popes to wash the feet of priests. On Holy Thursday last year Pope Francis chose to wash and kiss the feet of teen-agers in a detention center just outside of Rome - two of whom were women and two of whom were Muslim. It was unheard of in the Catholic Church. So what is the message of Pope Francis as a leader. He’s saying, “We lead with humility and in our humility we project great strength.”
Jim Collins said a mark of leaders he has studied is humility with great strength or resolve. Indeed, humility with strength is a virtue celebrated in every major spiritual tradition. Humility says, “I have a special place in the world but no more special than any other person in this world.” Strength says, “I’m confident with what I do know and I’m confident I can find the answers to what I don’t know.” Other people can sense humility with strength instantly. A well trained leader can also sense false humility - the discounting of yourself and being oh so very proud of the fact you have done so.
So when you encounter a difficult person or are dealing with a difficult situation, approach it with strength and humility. Remember humility comes from the latin word humus which means “grounded” or “from the earth.” So with your feet firmly grounded, here’s a way to respond with humility and strength:
- Listen to the other’s point of view and respect the other’s strengths. C.S. Lewis said humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less! As Franklin Covey said said so well, “Seek first to understand.”
- Formulate your own point of view and articulate it carefully.
- If you believe the other person will listen, engage. If not, act in a way that does not get ugly. Look for a way out with grace. Do not walk away with regret - walk away with dignity. If you do blow it, find a way to loop back and sincerely apologize. We are not perfect and 98% of people will appreciate your apology and move on.
What a perfect time of year to reflect on strength with humility - perhaps the most powerful leadership mindset of all.
Please note this leadership post is Part II of an original post that was sent out last week - The post is directly below here on on the Next Solutions site.
* Picture coutesay of Associated Press