When the Pope made his visit to the United States recently I was fascinated by his popularity but even more so I learned so much by listening to what he had to say.
I found an amazing article written by William Vanderbloemen from Fast company, I was able to compare each Lesson to what we are doing as an organization through A Love of Tennis.
1. Be Accessible: The Pope is know for his availability and openness to the public. Personal, hand-written notes and birthday lunch invitations to the homeless of Rome take priority in his schedule and exemplify his leadership vision. Those who aren't spiritual leaders should rethink what their most important priorities are - people over processes, names over numbers. Accessibility shows trust and loyalty among colleagues and customers.
A Love of Tennis has the same vision as our priorities are people, and we go into the community to reach many who wouldn't have the opportunity to come to us. We reach the kids who need it most through our in the streets program.
2. Don't ignore Social Media: The Pope is tweeting. His primary Twitter handle @Pontifex (https://twitter.com/Pontifex). Social media has proved one of the most effective mediums for influencing current generations.
A Love of Tennis has just completed a social media strategy and is actively searching for a volunteer to help us manage our social media accounts to help us get more out in the community.
3. Flatten your Organization: Pope Francis rearranged his management team, reducing its sense of hierarchy. Flattening an organization can be one of the best ways business leaders can institute their vision without relying on the prevailing means. Restructure, revamp, and realign so that the top leadership drives the vision, and the subsequent layers can execute and sustain it.
A Love of Tennis believes in creating the vision at the top but empowering staff and volunteers so they have the tools to implement positive change.
4. Take Risks: Pope Francis took risks. He made unprecedented claims and unconventional decisions. "To listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference." he wrote
A Love of Tennis also takes risks. We listen to our conscience and make positive change that involves risks that go into territories that others have never gone but we know the importance of these changes that will create positive change in communities and empower more kids. Our "Tennis in the Streets" program is a risk but one that we know is important to making positive change.
5. Value Input From Subordinates: There is real value in your lower subordinates-what they think and believe and the skills they offer-to achieve real progress. Its up to leaders to go out and seek that value, then develop it in everyone they lead.
A Love of Tennis has learned so much from the students and volunteers in our organization. We wouldn't know what to do without such a diverse and smart group that inspire us to continue to make change each and everyday in a positive way. We want to thank them for helping us along this tremendous path.
By reviewing the 5 leadership lessons from Pope Francis we are encouraged that we are making a tremendous contribution in moving this organization forward as leaders and continuing to create a new generation of leaders.