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.