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Catholic CEO

How Church teachings can help us build better organizations





What type of leader do I want to become? (#13)

13. Well-integrated business leaders can respond to the rigorous demands placed upon them with a servant attitude, recalling Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. Leadership in this servant spirit is different from the authoritarian exercise of power too often present in business organizations. It distinguishes Christian executives and the work environment that they seek to foster. In living business responsibilities in such a manner, in developing true servant leadership, they give freely of their expertise and abilities. In figuratively washing the feet of their collaborators, business leaders more fully realize their noble calling.



This is one of the most serious challenges we face as business leaders.  The picture of the two types of leaders could not be more distinct: one focused on power and moving the company forward through his own determination and drive, and the other (also moving the company forward) through humility and magnanimity, not as an autocrat but as a servant.

Good to Great by Jim Collins is one of my favorite books.  Collins tells the stories of the greatest CEOs measured by their company’s stock market performance.  The typical “great” company outperformed its peers by a factor of five.  And what about these leaders?  First of all most of us never heard of them: Darwin Smith, Colman Mockler, George Cain.  Second, they were leaders with “personal humility and professional will.”

Being a servant leader does not mean your company will suffer financially.  As Collins demonstrates, leaders like this build companies with extraordinary financial returns.