14 Good Leadership is Passing the Baton - Thomas Lobo

posted Apr 12, 2018, 9:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 12, 2018, 9:54 AM ]
President Pratibha Patil, in her televised address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day 2009, while talking about Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution to the nation building process said: “guided by the aspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.” We are sure she meant “inspiring”. That the Mahatma inspired millions by his words and example is common knowledge. But little has ever been heard about whether he “aspired” for this. Taking a cue from this inadvertent faux pas, we need to reflect whether Leadership, both secular and in the Church, is of the aspiring or inspiring kind? Most leaders in the secular world today aspire for leadership, as it brings in its wake power, prestige and position. In the Christian context, leadership is characterised by the element of servanthood; a leader must seek to inspire others by his readiness to serve.

At the end of the next pastoral year, 2018-19, with the expiry of the present term of office of all Parish Pastoral Councils and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, we will need to usher in a new set of leaders in all the parishes of our Archdiocese. With our past experience, we have observed that the process of induction of new leaders becomes, very often, a tortuous one, as not many are willing to take on the mantle of leadership. We often ask ourselves, why are talented and multi-gifted individuals who are leaders in their chosen vocation in life, reluctant to serve as leaders in our Church? Neither do they aspire for, nor are they are inspired enough to take up a leadership role. On the other hand, in many of our parishes, we have leaders who are unwilling to let go and nurture new leaders who can take up the baton of leadership.

One of the principle elements of Collaborative leadership is the need for a regular rotation of leaders (Post-Synodal Document PSD 2001:67:1). When we look at Jesus’ style of leadership, we realise it was both participatory and animatory. He not only shared His authority with His disciples, but provided them the necessary skills and practice to participate in His mission fully. He was challenging, inspiring and led by example. Empowerment for Jesus was conferring the fullness of His power on the apostles and disciples. But finally, He moved on, and let them build on His foundations, as they carried on His mission.