There can be a fine line between a leader and a dictator. A leader serves others. A dictator serves themselves. The former is how I would describe the actions of Pope Benedict XVI who made the historic move to step down from the highest office in the Catholic Church. His reasons? He felt his physical limitations kept him from serving in the role to which he was called.
I’m not a Catholic but I do admire the strength of decision in this physically frail man. Here is what I can learn as a leader from the Popes action.
- Good leaders give those He leads advance notice of pending changes. To the world, it appeared sudden but to the Pope’s leadership circles, they knew that this was coming. One of the Cardinals a few clicks away from the Pope said that the Pontiff had mentioned several times within the last 6 months that the change was on the horizon. This “holy heads up” gave the decision makers time to start the process of finding a replacement which should be named before Easter.
- Good leaders get out of the way if it is for the betterment of those whom they serve. Like I said before, dictators serve only themselves. If the Pope was dictatorial, we wouldn’t be talking about a resignation until funeral plans were being made. Humility is a key attribute in a good leader.
I applaud the Pope. I honor his wisdom and I’ve learned from his decision and action.