He wrote a book about his experiences and he called it The Pope and the CEO. He talked about the leadership lessons he learned while serving as a Swiss guard. It touched me because so much of what he spoke about is exactly what I am looking for in a mate and ultimately the woman I want to be. I thought about the traits every human being should embrace. He told the story above and said that here was the leader of a church who was in a leadership position at the height of the cold war. He said that is the mark of a good leader, someone who is present enough in the moment to see how the joys and sorrows that the people around you are experiencing. As a Swiss guard he was supposed to blend into the background, but the pope noticed his pain and responded to it, despite all the more "important" things that were going on at that time. He said that John Paul made everybody he met feel like they were the reason he got up in the morning. Here is what he said about leaders in the book:
Effective leaders have a vision, understand it, live it, and are able to communicate that vision. People follow these leaders because their vision inspires them to reach new heights. They help people excel. They do this in four ways:
- They understand themselves and have clear purpose and values; on this foundation, they set their vision and goals;
- They take responsibility and initiative;
- They understand their undertaking and excel at recognizing and synchronizing talents to tasks. And above all;
- They engage in servant-leadership in that they understand the value, potential and aspirations of people who are entrusted to their leadership. Great leaders are coaches and mentors of future great leaders.
He said that to be a leader you must know what is right and what is wrong. You must feel it is your job to tell someone what is right and wrong. You cannot think of only profit for yourself, you must consider profit for everyone in the company. He spoke of servant leadership and he even mentioned that the words for "I love you" in Italian (Ti voglio bene) translate into English "I desire for you, good." The glue that holds a relationship together is that we can trust each other. We must have a public moral culture so that there is one truth. There can never be a situation where someone can say, "This is my truth and that is your truth."
So, I had lots to think about on my drive home about wanting the best for the person you love; about sacrificing what you particularly want for the good of your family; about having a common truth about what is right and wrong; about trust; and about love being wanting good for the other person.
I also thought about my encounters with the Swiss guard and how good they are at their job. I was in St. Peter's with a group of about 50 kids. It was getting late and St. Peter's was getting ready to be closed and locked. There was no announcement of last call to pray. I noticed as people left, the guard just stood by the people that remained, not interfering in what they were doing or trying to usher them out. They didn't even speak. They just stood by and as people got up and moved, the guard moved with them and slowly but surely each person was guided out of the church and each person was made to feel as if they had the control to stay or leave, which I think ultimately they did. I am sure they never would have been asked to leave. They did leave and left under their own terms because of the gentle manner the Swiss guard had about them. It was quite something to watch.