What are the best qualities of a good leader?

Thoughts about a life spent to serve others in love
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1. The trap of a self-centered life. It is a great experience of development when a child realizes that he is able to live his life alone. From one will comes the next, and from the next will comes another. In the big rush to grow this willpower bigger and bigger this giant will never thinks about what is the broader aim of what it actually wants. The time will come when man gets tired. He still wants something but he is not able to fulfill all his wills any more. Midlife-crisis sets in. Our poor fellow realizes that he has become alone in the big rush. He has reached his limits: he has burnt himself out. A lot of people finish their lives here. Old age comes but it is only a prolonged agony of a man falling apart. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. What are the best qualities of a good leader? The strength of service. It is possible to break out from the circles of the "self-made man" that closes himself inside himself, and after reaching our full potential we can discover the world’s "deep dimension" again. The key to the discovery of the world is: the strength of service. God wants to use us all for awaken the good in others. The good can spread only by the power of example. The only example that really reaches and affects the other person is the one that we serve this other person unselfishly with. A good leader listens and serves. A good leader deliberates, and tries to shepherd the community assigned to him towards the golden mean always supporting what the majority of the community do NOT want, moreover, what is not even needed just then. A good leader is decisive, responsible, peaceful, humble and knows when to resign. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How can we change the life of our environment to happiness? Fulfillment in a life spent to serve others in love. What is service? Service is passing the love to others, which was given to us by God. If we became open to accept the love of God, it is impossible to keep it in ourselves. This is how to serve others in love becomes a way of living. This is how we become love-sources in the life of all people around us. Thus, a good leader is the love-source of his environment. This is THE best quality of a good leader. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 


 

1. The trap of a self-centered life

 

"If a man, who can not count, finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?"
(Stanislaw Lec)

 

 

"If the little ones are surrounded by caring, tender love: they are happy. As a child grows up: this love-shell cracks. A teenager often experiences this as a liberation, but in fact he deprives himself of the world’s ’deep dimension’." (László Lukács SchP) It is a great experience of development when a child realizes that he is able to live his life alone. He starts to walk: he goes where he wants to. He takes control of his own destiny: he develops into the direction he wants to. From one will comes the next, and from the next will comes another. In the big rush to grow this willpower bigger and bigger this giant will never thinks about what is the broader aim of what it actually wants. The time will come when man gets tired. He still wants something but he is not able to fulfill all his wills any more. Midlife-crisis sets in. Our poor fellow realizes that he has become alone in the big rush. He cannot create such a new task or situation each day that would stimulate him. He has reached his limits: he has burnt himself out. A lot of people finish their lives here. Old age comes but it is only a prolonged agony of a man falling apart.

 

They delighted in their salvation much more than in their Savior,
in the gift more than in the Giver,
in the creature rather than in the Creator.

(Martin Luther: Magnificat, 1521)

 

 

 

Pope Francis told about the danger to become closed to our own ego in His speech on the 1st August 2018an idol is a projection of oneself in objects or in projects. Advertising, for example, makes use of this dynamic: I don’t see the object in itself but I perceive that car, that smartphone, that role – or other things – as a means to fulfill myself and of responding to my essential needs. And I seek it, speak of it, think of it; the idea of possessing that object or of doing that project, attaining that position, seems a wonderful way to happiness, a tower to reach the heavens (Cf. Genesis 11:1-9), and everything becomes functional to that goal.”

 


 

2. What are the best qualities of a good leader? The strength of service

 

"If you seek Jesus in all things,
you will surely find Him.
If you seek yourself,
you will find yourself -- to your own ruin."

(Imitation of Christ, II.7.III.)

 

These lines want to show that we do have another life! It is possible to break out from the circles of the "self-made man" that closes himself inside himself, and after reaching our full potential we can discover the world’s "deep dimension" again. The key to the discovery of the world is: the strength of service. "No one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in a human community." (Pope Francis: Gaudete and Exultate) God wants to use us all for awaken the good in others. It is not worth 'forcing' good deeds. Man forced to do good waits only for the first moment when the pressure stops, so he can continue the bad with doubled strength (see Matthew 12: 43-45 and Lucas 11: 24-26). The good can spread only by the power of example. The spread of good example may be 'less efficient' than forced good, but its effect is long-lasting. A real role-model is not self-interested (and never thinks about being a role model either...). The only example that really reaches and affects the other person is the one that we serve this other person unselfishly with. I can hear how the Reader interrupts me now: "Peter! This is nonsense! It is only about using me!” This may also happen. But keep it in mind that frequent service is revealed even if we make every effort to keep it in secret. And remember most: that each and every service is a new chance for that other person receiving the service to feel the touch of God. Real selflessness is poignant. It is exactly as shaking as the touch of God. Of course there are unrepentant souls who have grown such a hard shell of the ego around themselves that cannot be broken by selflessness any more. I have good news! They are not hopeless either. We never know that among the various forms of services which one will crack the prison’s wall that the other person has created for himself, and will release him from his imprisonment opening the way towards the endless love of God. This miracle will not be the result of our deeds. It is the mercy of God for both of us: for the other one who was deliberated and for ourselves who have been the means of God in this deliberation.

 

Let me encourage the Reader to think about some of your earlier acts with which you have served others. Think it over what was the motivation, what was the target that made you act? Was there any obviously hoped "own profit" when you started these acts? Now, remembering all this after a longer time, does it feel good what you did? If it does, what are the reasons of this feeling? Is it your own growth at that time or anything else, too?

 

 

After all this the question arises: What are the best qualities of a good leader? In the season starter blog post I wrote that complex systems (like human communities) can learn with regular changes of resource-rich and resource-poor periods. A good leader listens. He listens to the environment and the changes of the community served by him. Particularly, he watches the will of God manifested in all these events. A good leader serves. First of all God, the Lord of the Universe. Second, he serves the community that elected him to be the leader. Finally, he serves each and every member of the community individually, too. A good leader deliberates. In every moment again and again he tries to feel whether a certain situation requires a highly effective execution of a solution practiced earlier by the community (this often happens in resource-poor periods), or it demands such new solutions for which all the community members’ knowledge and experience have to be activated. (The latter situation is more often in resource-rich periods when the efficiency of the action is less important. About this I wrote more here.) A good leader tips the balance also when he is needed to shepherd the community assigned to him towards the golden mean. If new solutions flourish, he helps choose from them creating higher efficiency. And if everything runs too routinely he enables the intentions, which try to change this, to emerge. A good leader always supports what the majority of the community do NOT want. Moreover, a good leader also supports what is not needed just then. Because with this he prepares the community for future changes. A good leader is decisive. He recognizes emergency situations. In these cases he makes decisions without hesitation, he controls and leads. In emergency situations most of the bad decisions are much better than paralysis and indecision. A good leader is peaceful. He does not think that it is always emergency, but he knows that real emergency situations occur very rarely. A good leader is responsible. He stands by his decisions and he gives credible and true explanations to them. He ensures to admit if his explanations and his decisions have been wrong. A good leader is humble: he is able to ask, to thank, and to apologize. Finally: a good leader knows when to resign. To be a leader calls for processing an amazing amount of information. All people get tired of this after a while. More than ten years at the same position is a big danger for everyone. The leader burns out. A burn-out leader’s acts become a routine practice, his humility fades, his concentration weakens, his service declines, his deliberation errs, he makes hasty decisions, and his behavior becomes nervous and irresponsible. In such a case it is time to step down. Every day of his assignment a good leader knows who will be his successor and he is glad to pass his duties to him when the time comes.

 


 

3. How can we change the life of our environment to happiness? Fulfillment in a life spent to serve others in love

 

"One who is in love flies, runs, and rejoices;
he is free, not bound.
He gives all for all and possesses all in all,
because he rests in the one sovereign Good,
Who is above all things, and from Whom every good flows and proceeds.
He does not look to the gift but
turns himself above all gifts to the Giver."

(Imitation of Christ, III.5.II.)

 

What is service? Subordinating ourselves to others? Constraints forced on ourselves? Not at all! Service is passing the love to others, which was given to us by God. That is why this service is natural, inexhaustible and persistent. The love of God is endless. The love of God is the world’s "deep dimension". If we became open to accept the love of God, it is impossible to keep it in ourselves because we would explode soon. So it becomes a pleasure to present the love received from God to others with no limits because the love of God is poured on us endlessly, too. This is how to serve others in love becomes a way of living. This is how we become love-sources in the life of all people around us. I will write more details about this in the next blog post.

 

Let me ask the question again: What is the best quality of a good leader? A good leader is the love-source of his environment. This is related to why a good leader serves first of all God, the Lord of the Universe, and why he watches the will of God manifested in everything. Not because he can be a good son of his church only this way. But because his common existence with God is the basis of his own existence and is the source of love he passes when becoming a love-source himself.

 

 

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