The Soul of Good Leadership

“When I said that you must be unwavering as to the end and gentle as to the means, I am describing to you the soul of good leadership.”  Vincent de Paul (CCD, 2:403)

Checklists, systems, and metrics can serve important purposes in ensuring the consistency and effectiveness of our performance. However, if we consider the “soul” of good leadership, we recognize that these things can only get us part of the way there. There is more to good or soul-full leadership than simply following a prescriptive recipe. The soul of good leadership includes an ability to intuitively discern the signs of the times, the flexibility to adapt to circumstances beyond our control, the courage to take risks while remaining committed to guiding principles, and the grace to relate to others as human beings in a way that exhibits compassion and concern. How do you engage with the “soul” of good leadership in your life’s work, and how do you help others to do the same?

Indiscreet Zeal

“The spirit of God urges one gently to do the good that can be done reasonably, so that it may be done perseveringly and for a long time.” Vincent de Paul  (CCD, I:92)

Vincent seemed to be aware that he and others often falter by pursuing passions uncritically. Rather, he advised his followers not to rush into new ventures, aware that “indiscreet zeal” can at times lead more to harm than good. He advocated for a more discerning approach, rooted in experience. In his regular Tuesday Conferences, he would often invite the input of others with different perspectives, reflecting a way of proceeding in which discernment was dynamic and dialogical, open to various viewpoints, and aware that one person does not hold all of the answers. What regular practices of discernment can help to provide a healthy balance to your zeal and enthusiasm? How do you invite diverse and even contrary perspectives into dialogue with your own thinking?

Moving from Idea to Implementation

“If there is a patron saint of implementation, it is our own St. Vincent. Always suspicious of pure ideas untethered to concrete effects, he looks to the world of action to validate the ideas and follow through on their possibilities.” — Rev. Thomas McKenna, C.M. (famvin.org) Many promising ideas never get to the finish line. Perhaps they are too abstract or too idealistic. Or, maybe we fall short in the courage, know-how, or perseverance to bring them to completion. However, consider Vincent de Paul’s inspirational lived example of testing out ideas, following through, and bringing them to the light of day. What idea might you seek to validate with others this week, or seek to move from your own imagination into action?

 


Quote Source:  https://famvin.org/en/2019/04/24/achievement-to-implementation/