The Francis Effect

  |   Leadership Print Friendly and PDF

Some pundits think that leaders don’t really affect much. They should read the Wall Street Journal  article titled “Family Fiat for Thrifty Pope.” Here’s the opening paragraph.

“In Vatican circles, the phrase ‘Francis effect’ describes how a pope famous for his ascetism is paring the regal trappings of the Holy See, discarding the luxury cars and baubles.”

Pope Francis is a Jesuit priest. He took a vow of poverty and, pope or not, he’s acting like he means to keep it. It’s not just about cars. It’s also about where he eats and what he eats and with whom he eats. It’s about what he wears.

Pope Francis is a leader who’s making a difference. The “Francis Effect” is the impact he is having on the Roman Catholic Church and on the rest of us. If you want to make a difference where you are, here are some things you can learn from the Holy Father to create your own version of the Francis Effect.

Act on your values. That’s what most of the news stories are about. When Francis was the Cardinal Archbishop in Argentina, he lived in a small apartment, not the lavish archbishop’s residence. He cooked his own meals. He took public transportation.

If  you live your values, the way you live sends a message about them. We call it leadership by example. It’s powerful and it’s necessary but it’s not enough.

As a leader, you use your behavior to influence the behavior and performance of others. Behavior is what you do, but it’s also what you say.

Talk about your values. The Pope doesn’t simply live his values and assume that’s enough. He explains them. He comments on his choices. That’s one kind of talking.

Talk about your expectations. The Pope talks about what he expects from church leadership, from priests, and from all Roman Catholics. It’s hard for people to meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are. Tell them.

Boss’s Bottom Line

It’s both do and say. Your actions should demonstrate your values, but you have to talk about them, too. And you have to let others know what you expect from them.

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

There are no comments yet, why not be the first to leave a comment?