Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What does leadership literature have to do with being Catholic?

What does leadership literature have to do with being Catholic?

Leadership is learned
Leadership literature exists so that people can learn how to be leaders. Management philosopher Peter F. Drucker concludes, in his landmark work The Effective Executive, that leadership is learned. We also believe this.

Masters of our bodies
Catholics are not all called to be leaders in terms of the world: worldly leadership often comes alongside considerable luck--the right place at the right time.

Catholics are called to be leaders of our own selves. We are called to master our bodies and desires, instead of our bodies mastering us--for we are not only our bodies and its appetites, but we are also our souls: we are persons. Chastity is one such example of self-mastery, focused on the sexual realm.

Mastering our bodies entails developing good habits of action and good habits of thought & intention. Leadership entails enabling other people to produce their best. The most effective leadership is based on a rock-solid character which has excellent habits. Therefore, a solid character only exists to the extent that someone has mastered the impulses of his/her own body.

Excellent leadership always points others toward an excellent common goal and keeps everyone's focus on that goal. The leader makes sure the goal is the reason for others' actions and reactions.

Levels of leadership for Catholics

1. Business leaders who are Catholic
Some Catholics are in positions of leadership in business, sports, education or another sector. In this sense, leadership literature plays an important professional development role. This applies to the work of the clergy.

2. Catholics who work under a leadership
Some Catholics work under a leadership team. Even here, leadership skills are invaluable because every worker must be able to at least lead themselves for the sake of the organization. If workers are always waiting for management to make every little decision, nothing would ever get done. In many cases, that's exactly what happens. Leadership literature develops leadership skills. This also applies to the work of the clergy.

3. Catholic parents as leaders
Most Catholics are married and are leaders at home. Virtuous leadership serves more than a professional role here: it serves a developmental role. Our children will really buy into virtue and be inspired to become leaders when they see it successfully in action in you, their parents. You are the ultimate educators and you can make or break the time-sensitive project of the moral development of your children or of others' children. Leadership literature can help us in this project.

4. All Catholics must be lead in order to lead
All Catholics are to be obedient to Christ and His Church. Paradoxically, leadership is most important in relation to obedience. We are obedient to Christ and His Church because they are the source of the virtue, the right action, we seek to have shine through our actions. How are we supposed to be such good and solid people without having been shown how first? How are Catholics supposed to lead the world to Christ's love if we are not lead by the same love? How are we supposed to effectively love unless we know what true love is?

Christ gives us grace through the Holy Sacraments, through His Church, in particular Reconciliation and Eucharist, and this grace gives us incomparable strength of will and spirit to continue pursuing this most difficult goal of virtue.

Leadership literature
In summary, leadership literature can play an important role in the spiritual, professional and personal development of Catholics, provided the leadership is based in virtue and character. Some leadership only goes for the "appearance" of leadership, teaching about the effects good leaders produce. They fail to mention that good leaders produce good effects because they have more powerful causes! Leadership based on character will always look for the good in others because character-based leadership is based on what is in the heart of the leader. The Catholic leader will have faith, hope, and self-sacrificing charity in his/her heart, and right judgment, constancy, cheerfulness, magnanimity, self-control, and justice in his/her action.

Do not "appear" as a leader--"be" a leader through and through. Be a leader to yourself, to your loved ones, and--most importantly--be an exceptional leader when no one is looking and find opportunity to be an exceptional leader when no one will ever find out. Your Father in heaven will see you and reward you in secret.