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Blessed are you if you do it

The sentence I heard recently at a union meeting really resonated: We don’t leave jobs, we leave bosses.

Is there a more succinct truth in the world of employment? I have had bosses for whom I gave my all, worked extra hard, went beyond my job description. And I have had bosses who have made me look for other jobs, who used their power in a way that squashed my spirit.  Those are the bosses I left.

Supervising other humans is not an easy task, I grant you. But the people who are the most successful managers and bosses understand the simple equation that leadership equals service.

The best bosses approach their work as a way to help the people under them shine, grow, learn and perform their jobs as well as possible. The best bosses also never ask their employees to do anything that they themselves would not be willing to do. When the boss serves as a support to the employee, the workplace environment is positive. There is less worker turnover, less drama, less resentment. Leadership as service is a winning proposition. Why, then, is it so rare?

Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles. That story, found in the Gospel of John, 13:1-17, is repeated every year during the Mass of the Last Supper. After washing their feet like a servant, Jesus said to the Apostles: “Do you realise what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

If the Son of God can lead by serving, we must try to do the same.

I recently attended a Mass where the presider berated the ushers for passing the collection baskets before he was done explaining what the collected money was for. By berating I mean actually yelling at them and treating them as though they had deliberately and personally affronted him. This was in the middle of Mass. This rather shocking behaviour seemed like a good way to decrease the number of parish volunteers. It was leadership by intimidation, exactly what the church currently does not need.

If we follow Jesus, our behaviour in all walks of life should mirror his model of leadership as service. “If you understand this,” Jesus said to those whose feet he had just washed, “blessed are you if you do it.”

If you do it.

All of our reading, along with the piety of our preaching, is worthless if we do not do it. Whether we are the president of a company or a country, a pastor or a principal or a parent, we are to lead by serving. We already know what Jesus would do. – Valerie Schultz @ America

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