Unless you've been hiding under a particularly large rock, chances are you heard that Pope Francis visited the U.S. in September. From New York City to Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia, the Pope made his impression on both U.S. citizens and lawmakers.
His contributions to the U.S. were more than just holy. Business leaders took notice of the Pope's exceptional leadership skills, and this wasn't the first time. In 2014, the American Management Association published a book titled "Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis."
In lieu of the end of Pope Francis' visit to the U.S., we thought we'd share the top five leadership lessons worth implementing in your office.
1. Minimize the hierarchy
From day one, Pope Francis has worked to flatten out the structural organization of the papacy. From changing his official title from Supreme Pontiff to the Bishop of Rome to choosing to live among fellow priests at Casa Santa Marta as opposed to the lavish Papal Apartment, the Pope believes in the utility of minimizing power structures. In a business, this can be a great move, according to Fast Company writer William Vanderbloemen. Business leaders can begin to focus on implementing and driving their visions throughout the company in an accessible manner, while simultaneously building relationships among their employees
2. Set a goal and focus on it
Throughout the entirety of the Pope's visit, he focused on the process of showing mercy. Forbes contributor Geoff Lotus noted that with every global crisis he addressed, there was always one common denominator: mercy was the remedy. This type of hyper-focus or over-arching goal can be very useful in leadership. When the goal is clearly and constantly communicated, there is a better chance that the whole organization will work to accomplish it.
3. Be brave
Pope Francis isn't exactly known for playing it safe. Whether it be his unrelenting commitment to remedying climate change or his new initiative against Catholic norms to forgive women who have had abortions, Pope Francis has made some pretty controversial decisions. Sure, playing it safe doesn't necessarily hurt you when you are a leader, but it also doesn't particularly help. To grow means to take professional risks. Any company leader that does not take a chance occasionally runs the risk of creating a stagnant company. Therefore, as a good leader you should be brave enough to take risks for the betterment of the company as a whole. Don't let the fear of failure prevent growth, wrote Vanderbloemen.
"Pope Francis isn't exactly known for playing it safe."
4. Step outside your zone
Pope Francis, unlike past Popes, has never been afraid to reach past his religious constituency to bring as many people possible closer to God. He has also been relentless in urging his clergy men to spend some time on the front lines to truly understand how their people live, reported Forbes contributor Roger Trapp. These lessons are great for any business leader. First off, it is always a great idea to widen your reach. Cater to your loyal customers but always pursue new business. Second, as a business leader it may be easy to forget what the world is like on the floor. Try and step in your employees' shoes every once and a while. Venture over to different departments, offer to help, get firsthand experience about what it's like to work for you and your company.
5. Ask for help
According to Trapp, Pope Francis recognizes that there is no way he can achieve everything by himself. In an interesting move, the Pope asked his followers to take the time to pray for him. Just because you are a leader doesn't mean you cannot occasionally ask for help. Stuck in a rut? Organize a brainstorming meeting with some randomly selected staff members. If the Pope can ask for help, you can too. No one is too good to ask for a little assistance every once in a while.