This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Leading with humility

Thanks to @JoaoMMXIV for drawing my attention to the book "Lead with humility", by Jeffrey A. Krames, which is subtitled 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis. I haven't actually got the book, but I have a fairly good idea of what it should contain.

Lead with humility

Can we have a Year of Humility next time, please?

Well, dear reader - Mr Heep, say - as a humble person you won't have put yourself forward for a leadership role, but don't despair, someone else will "fix it" for you. In the old days it might have been Jimmy Saville, but he's rather gone out of favour recently (and, anyway, is dead), so you may have to settle for getting a specially-constituted Team Heep to promote your case. Have a word with Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O'Connor or Godfried Danneels, and see whether they can help.

If all goes well, you will become the managing director of the Lancaster branch of the Acme Drainage Company (motto: Protect the Pipe), and be the proud possessor of a "Cormac fixed it for me" badge.

Now, how does a truly humble leader behave? Well, start by making your office look more humble. Throw out all the comfy chairs in which visitors used to sit, keeping just one for yourself. That aspidistra plant had better go, too: a humble leader should settle for a wilting dandelion. Make it known that you have given your bed at home to the poor, and that from now on you will sleep in the dog's basket. For food, avoid Dolan's All-you-can-eat Restaurant: a humble plate of Fish and Chips (in Italian, "Fisichella") will be much better for you.

luxurious bed

Available to any poor person who wishes to collect it.

So far we haven't addressed the questions of leadership, which, in your case, means getting your own way without seeming to do so. There are various ways to achieve this: one is to come out with a blizzard of insults, confusing and contradictory statements, and plans which you know can never be implemented. When you do so, remind people that your words are being uttered in a spirit of humility and mercy. You could even install a "window of mercy" in your office, so that when you get annoyed with staff and defenestrate them, they can realise that it is being done very humbly.

Dilbert

Dilbert's boss embraces the Spirit of Pope Francis.

Another humble way to lead your company is to announce changes to company policy in a less direct way. For example, every time you take an aeroplane trip, you could stand up and make a speech outlining a batch of controversial changes (e.g. from now on, all staff must turn off the central heating in their offices, to prevent climate change) - check with the cabin crew before doing this.

Or you could float new company policy in interviews with 100-year-old deaf-mute journalists who don't speak your language too well; or you could get a trusted member of staff (the technical name is a gasper, one who emits hot air) to float the silliest ideas that he can imagine. Having totally confused and terrified your employees, you may then return to the office and humbly do whatever it was you planned to do all along.

monkey on St Peter's

When King Küng attacks, only a humble person can respond.

Finally, a good catchphrase you might adopt is "Who am I to judge?" The answer being, that you are the boss, and you will judge whenever you feel like it... humbly, of course. That's what leaders do.

24 comments:

  1. May be as you hasn't heard the fine calypso they is playing in Portsmouth Cathedral tonight as part of their carol service. Everyone invited to stand and dance. And then the stretching and bending song. Hey they is even lifting each other up in groups, just like the circus. Are they possessed by the spirit of Eileen Fowler rather than Christmas Past? And now 'Good King Win Satlast' (or has my hearing gone?) Nah, it's the old carol indeed but as a tenth rate jazz musician might arrange it. You can all watch afterwards on Church TV. "All of our students are gifted and talented in so many ways...." We're all invited to a party Now stand and sing for the last song (sic) and sing as loud as possible or you don't get to go home.
    That's the Portsmouth musical tradition we all love.

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    1. I's not referring to the spendid St John's College Carol Service on 10 December but to Monday night's secular sing-song.

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    2. Looked for it on ChurchServices but sadly they don't seem to have recorded this particular one for posterity.

      Shame. I do like a good knees-up.

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  2. You may think that Pope Francis would be content to put all his efforts into ensuring that he continues to 'lead with humility'. But you'd be mistaken....

    Over the coming year, he will also be plumbum-ing the largely hidden and virtually unknown depths of mercy available to all mankind and which no one in the Church has been able to clearly explain since the death of St. John the Evangelist.

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  3. When we did science at school lead was heavy, malleable and dense but I didn't know it was humble.

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  4. After the year of Mercury we could have a year of lead.

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    Replies
    1. After the year of Mercury, I have a feeling I'll want a year of sodium bicarbonate.

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  5. To lead with (ostentatious) humility means seeking to acquire the applause of mortals...?

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  6. Has he a "mandate" for humility?

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  7. I think you have misunderstood the title which is a reference to the metal and not the verb to lead. Think of balloons and lead.

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    Replies
    1. The last time I let a balloon lead me, I got myself run over and ended up in A & E. Moral: Don't let a balloon lead! (Even if it's helium)

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  8. Plenty of monkey business going on at St Peter's these days.

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  9. Bruv, you has de preevieus, ennit, fer de alltring of de pics? Wit dat dogs brekfust of de sun ay loomy air show in roam larse week, me carnt be shure if yer larse pic is ko-sha or not...

    But me is goner sey it ain't and ad "Yu is wun cheetah, bruv."

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  10. I'm too humble to say how Pope Eccles should be running his blog,
    but,
    if I wasn't
    then
    I would suggest that he should make a Mission Statement. In it he would say how the Line Management should Bench Mark the Work In Progress of this Centre of Excellence as it gravitates to a World Class Status, Just-in-Time to hit the Target set by the Facilitators.... all in a Real Time Scenario. This would Empower the End User to take a Hands On Systemic Approach to making the blog Fit for Purpose.

    But

    Being ever so humble,

    I'll not say a word

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    Replies
    1. Excellent Commentary, John.

      Oh, how many times have we heard all those pithy epithets emanating from Politicians' mouths !!!

      And they always think they're so original and clever.

      Besides, nobody understands what they mean.

      However.

      Who am I to judge ?

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  11. I led with humility during my tenure as Queen of Narnia. Even downsized from Cair Paravel to a more accessible (as it unhappily transpired) and modest house. I took stringent precautions against flat-earth warming, with a healthy carbon credit balance which I traded with Calormen. Even had carbon neutral transport, and a non agist, non disablist, non speciesist employment policy, with equal opportunities for hags, dwarfs, minotaurs and werewolves.

    Perhaps it was my hardline views on immigration that led to my fall from popularity?

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  12. Actually Uriah of the Heep variety is an ominous parallel to draw, if you were, more typical of Mundabor. Underneath the ostentatious humility Heep is a boiling cauldron of hate who sets out to undermine and then destroy as many of the unsuspecting members of his society as he can, out of sheer resentment at anyone he deems to be more fortunate than himself.

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    Replies
    1. Good point. And to be completely fair, I don't think Pope Francis has ever described himself as 'umble.

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    2. Quite right. The exact words were: "I have the ambition and the humility..." at least that is if the memory of a nonagenarian, atheist journalist was not too clouded by lead poisoning from his pencil.

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  13. Reminds me of the anarchist student son who boasted to his mother that at a demonstration "the anarchists were the best organised".

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  14. I am reminded of the monk who claimed that his book on humility was the best ever written.

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  15. Stained-glass windows contain leading but if humility alone can keep the panes together then this would enable cheaper production techniques.

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  16. The Pope's humility must be increasing in proportion to the diminishing numbers turning up for his general audiences. What was it last time, the Pope, his driver, the cameraman and a guy looking for an ice cream stall. That's showbiz for you.

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