A CONTEMPORARY ARTICULATION OF LEADERSHIP
In his book, Heroic Leadership, Chris Lowney articulates the Jesuit model of leadership by delineating its distinctive qualities and guiding principles in the context and language of business: “We’re all leaders, and we’re leading all the time, well or poorly.”
“Leadership springs from within. It’s about who I am as much as what I do.”
“Leadership is not an act. It is my life, a way of living.”
“I never complete the task of becoming a leader. It’s an ongoing process.”
1. Everyone is a leader, and everyone is leading all the time – sometimes in immediate, dramatic, and obvious ways, more often in subtle, hard-to-measure ways, but leading nonetheless.
It is in the everyday, ordinary activities and choices that I am becoming a leader. It is the way I smile, dress, am spontaneous, self-revealing, kind, affectionate, and supportive that I influence others, for better or for worse. Leadership is primarily an inside job because it is about self-leadership. However, it affects people exteriorly. My inner choices influence others at an external level. As I grow and improve, so does my group, company, family.
2. A leader’s greatest power is his or her personal vision, communicated by the example of his or her daily life. Vision springs from within, from hard self-reflection that yields deep-rooted personal beliefs and attitudes: What do I care about? What do I want? How do I fit into the world?
3. Leadership is not a job to be left at work when one comes home to relax and enjoy life. It does not consist of putting on a set of values or conduct when one is “on duty” and putting on a different set when one is “off duty” – like a lab coat or construction hat. Because, it is a way of valuing and thinking that springs from deep within, there is no sure checklist of things to do; rather, it is an inner compass from which to discern one’s action. Heroic leadership is a daily personal pursuit. Do I wake up in the morning with this attitude?
4. Becoming a leader is an on-going process of self-development. Leadership is a never-ending work in progress that draws on continually maturing self-understanding. Environment change, people change, priorities shift. These changes call for continual adjustment and recommitment No one becomes a leader by accident. Strong leaders welcome the opportunity to learn about oneself and the world and looks forward to new discoveries and interests. A leader is essentially a pilgrim, not one who has “arrived” at some idealized state of perfection.