Skip to main content

Yesterday, over 800,000 spectators crowded the St. Peter’s Square area while 500,000 more watched on giant screens around Rome as Pope Francis canonized Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.  The first time a Pope has sainted two Popes at the same time, this historic event has been called a savvy political move by the media, since Pope Francis recognized both the more liberal John XXIII and the more conservative John Paul II, thus satisfying two opposing wings of the Roman Catholic church.  While Pope Francis did indeed display political savvy at this canonization, this event holds far more significance than that (even leaving aside the spiritual question of discerning sainthood).  

Pope Francis understands important principles of leadership, not just politics.  As Ronald Heifetz et al. point out in The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, leadership is about “mobilizing people to tackle tough problems,” and leadership involves bringing differences in values to the surface.  Heifetz argues that, in any human group, people seek a leader who will solve their problems.  But, because different people within a group hold different values, no leader can please everyone and no leader can solve all the problems in a way that satisfies everyone.  Any leader who tries to be the hero and solve all the problems will be scapegoated, and the cycle of seeking the perfect leader who can solve all the problems will repeat itself.  Instead of being a heroic problem-solver, the leader’s job, according to Heifetz, is to help people see the differences in values represented in the group and then “give the work back to the people at a rate they can stand.”  When the people themselves wrestle with differences in values and work together to address problems, they come to respect one another and see nuances they didn’t see when they were polarized.  Moreover, when they work together toward a solution, the outcome is stronger and longer-lasting than one fashioned by the leader alone.

Pope Francis, in canonizing the two Popes, named important values that each represents.  He pointed out John XXIII’s efforts to bring the church into the twentieth century by convening the Second Vatican Council, and he named John Paul II a “Pope of the family.” He honored both men as courageous leaders.  

By honoring both Popes, Francis acknowledged that both the liberal and the conservative wings of the church carry important values.  He highlighted the best of what both Popes contributed.  In so doing, he refused to take sides, but called the people of the church to see the best in opposing points of view.  

By surfacing differences in values and calling people to respect the good in opposing viewpoints, Pope Francis is “giving the work back to the people at a rate they can stand.”  He is mobilizing people to tackle the tough problems both within the church and without by preparing them to work together. As in his other initiatives, Pope Francis has refused once again to be pigeonholed.  

Originally posted to Margaret Benefiel on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    Margaret Benefiel, Ph.D., author of Soul at Work (Seabury Books, 2005), The Soul of a Leader (Crossroad, 2008), and co-editor of The Soul of Supervision (Morehouse, 2010), serves as Executive Officer of Executive Soul, LLC.

    by mbenefiel on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:11:50 PM PDT

  •  I studied Adaptive Leadership... (7+ / 0-)

    ...in my MPA studies.

    It's definitely a valuable way to think about leadership.

  •  The importance of Charisma in a Leader (6+ / 0-)

    ..cannot be overestimated.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:44:34 PM PDT

    •  Charisma (8+ / 0-)

      I agree that Pope Francis is charismatic, and that trait helps him.  At the same time, I think he couples that with a deep understanding of leadership, and the combination is powerful.

      Margaret Benefiel, Ph.D., author of Soul at Work (Seabury Books, 2005), The Soul of a Leader (Crossroad, 2008), and co-editor of The Soul of Supervision (Morehouse, 2010), serves as Executive Officer of Executive Soul, LLC.

      by mbenefiel on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 01:57:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's my issue with charisma. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mbenefiel, FloridaSNMOM

      And this ties in with the diarist's mention of Adaptive Leadership.

      Traditionally, there have been two styles of leadership: transactional, and transformative.

      Transactional leadership is horse-trading. You trade this for that. I give you money, you give me labor. That sort of thing. The problem is that if you lack resources, you're not going to get very far. And if you need to do really substantial, earth-shaking changes that require reshaping power structures, you're not going to be able to horse-trade enough to make that happen.

      Transformative leadership is the exercise of Charisma (TM). You use your people skills to get people to do things they otherwise wouldn't do.

      It gets you further than transactional leadership, but transformative leadership has a few problems. First, what is charisma, anyways? Is that just being good at talking to people? Good at public speaking? Good at bamboozling? It's hard to nail down. Second, transformative leadership can be used for good or for evil. Adolf Hitler, was a transformative leader, with a huge amount of charisma. He transformed Germany into a very bad place, and ultimately got it bombed flat.

      So that brings us to adaptive leadership, which frames the leadership in terms of solving or addressing problems. When you're an adaptive leader, you're bringing problems to people's attention. You discuss with them how the problem affects them. You suggest solutions or plans of action, which may or may not be accepted. As a leader, you're putting those you lead into a sort of pressure cooker. You use current events, frames of reference, situations to put pressure on them. Too little pressure, and they won't do anything. Too much pressure, and the pressure cooker explodes, and people rebel.

      An adaptive leader is reminding those he or she is leading about problems they need to address, giving them tools to solve them, or putting the ball in their court and prodding them to find ways to solve the problems. In short, adaptive leadership is prodding people to adapt.

      I'm sure others can explain it more than I can.

      •  Adaptive Leadership (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM

        I think you've explained adaptive leadership very well, ApostleofCarlin.  The pressure cooker analogy that Heifetz uses and you've cited is a vivid one.  "Giving the work back to the people at a rate they can stand" is all about guaging the pressure in the pressure cooker and adjusting it as needed.  Thanks for developing the thread on adaptive leadership further.

        Margaret Benefiel, Ph.D., author of Soul at Work (Seabury Books, 2005), The Soul of a Leader (Crossroad, 2008), and co-editor of The Soul of Supervision (Morehouse, 2010), serves as Executive Officer of Executive Soul, LLC.

        by mbenefiel on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 04:43:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As an Anglican, I am right there with the Pope. (5+ / 0-)

    While I wouldn't cannonize either of them, I understand why he did.

    SPES MEA IN DEO EST.

    by commonmass on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 02:47:07 PM PDT

    •  Canonization (3+ / 0-)

      Yes, me too, Commonmass, even though I'm a Quaker.

      Margaret Benefiel, Ph.D., author of Soul at Work (Seabury Books, 2005), The Soul of a Leader (Crossroad, 2008), and co-editor of The Soul of Supervision (Morehouse, 2010), serves as Executive Officer of Executive Soul, LLC.

      by mbenefiel on Mon Apr 28, 2014 at 03:07:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Having been Protestant, Pagan, Catholic, and (0+ / 0-)

      Jewish (in that order though my more exotic brother went from Protestant to Unitarian to Mormon to Nichiren Sho Buddhist to Bahai to Theosophy)
      As one might gather I'm the more orthodox one small caps and if it were not for the current Russki government my next step would be Russian Orthodox.  But barring a new Russian Revolution and considering the recent behavior of Israel Pope Francis tempts me to return to Catholicism.  Consider the art, consider the music...I can almost recite the Mass and the Requiem from my days as organist in my local Roman Catholic Church in Virginia.  I somewhat regret Vatican II I loved the Latin.  But I also love the Hebrew...Shema Yisroel Adonai elohenu Adonai Ehad

      Armed! I feel like a savage! Barbarella

      by richardvjohnson on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 02:58:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site