Permission from the Pope

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you probably know I’m a big fan of leadership.  I love learning about leadership, watching leaders, being a leader and helping leaders grow too.  Something really big happened in the leadership world recently, you probably heard about it: the Pope decided to retire.  The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church, he lives in Rome, and for over 600 years no Pope has retired, they’ve all died in office.  So why does this matter in regards to leadership, and especially leadership in business?

First, the Pope recognizes as Dr. Albert Schweitzer said:  “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know. The only ones among you who will really be happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”  True leadership is all about service.

Second, and our key for today, the Pope recognizes that he can no longer serve the people of the Catholic Church, and of the world, in they way they need him to, and thus he decided to resign.

You see, leadership, especially leadership in the spotlight, is something most people do for a period of time, not indefinitely.  We humans simply can’t deal with that kind of pressure and responsibility forever, nor do we have to.  A big part of leadership is knowing that you can help the people who need a leader, and the time is right to help them.  If you’re not equipped for the job, or no longer equipped for the job, don’t do the job!!

Will Pope Benedict XVI ever not be a leader? No, he’s simply transitioning into a different role of leadership, as he feels he is better able to do.  Think of some of the US Presidents and world leaders (like Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela), they no longer hold the highest positions or most visible ones, yet they still have an impact on the world as leaders.

This week I encourage you to consider your leadership role, and the people you have in leadership roles on your team.  Are they the best person for the job right now?  Are you?  Don’t be afraid to step down, there’s always another position that is open, and another way you can be a leader in the world.  Give yourself permission to step into the next role of your life, if the Pope can do it, so can you!

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