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This past Saturday my daughter Shannon sent me an email with a link to a story by Geoffrey James called 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses. So much of it resonated with the Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesusthat I decided to use it in this newsletter. 

On Sunday I awoke with the inspiration that I should relate the story about bosses to the Gospel passage where Jesus describes himself as “the good shepherd,” and then contrasts that role with that of a “hired man.” The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, in contrast, abandons the sheep at the first sign of danger. 

Then I headed off to Mass at a church near my hotel where I learned that we were celebrating Good Shepherd Sunday — and the Gospel passage read at Mass was the very one I awoke thinking to use in my newsletter (John 10:11-18). In it the good shepherd is a model of selfless leadership. The hired man is a model of self-centered leadership. And not surprisingly, the self-centered leader ends up with nothing – no sheep, no job, no prospects.

James comes at it strictly as an empirical researcher and explains: “A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the ‘best of the best’ tend to share the following eight core beliefs.” Here is a brief summary:

1. Organizations are ecosystems, not battlefields. Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. Extraordinary bossessee organizations as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. 

2. An organization is a community, not a machine. Average bosses see their organizations as machines and employees as cogs.Extraordinary bosses see their organizations as collections of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher, common purpose. 

3. Management is service, not control. Average bosseswant employees to do exactly what they're told. Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. 

4. Employees are my peers, not my children. Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can't be trusted.Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm — and excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. 

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear. Average bosses see fear as a crucial way to motivate people.Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they'll be a part of it. 

6. Change begets growth, not pain. Average bosses see change as complicated and threatening. Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life from which opportunities emerge.

7. Technology liberates rather than routinizes. Average bosses see technology as the way to more control and predictability.Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. 

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil. Average bossesthink everyone resents having to work and must be prodded constantly. Extraordinary bosses see work as something that can and should be inherently enjoyable and purposeful so long as people are properly trained and equipped to do the work.

A lot of what James has to say is exactly what we teach in S3Jesus-like Leadership, so we hope you’ll take his distinctions between ordinary andextraordinary leadership to heart.

Anytime we try to influence someone else, we are trying to exercise leadership. So all of us are called to be leaders some of the time. Some of us get prominent positions. Others influence from the bottom up, or with peers, or in our homes, parishes and communities. 

What kind of leader are you? No matter where or when you lead, if you want to be an even more extraordinary leader who consistently fosters extraordinary outcomes, return to this checklist often and grade your progress from time to time.

Owen Phelps, Ph.D.
Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute

Copyright © 2012 Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute, 208 E. North St., Durand, IL 61024. Any part of this newsletter may be reproduced so long as there is full attribution, our web site is listed, and any electronic reproduction includes a link to our site: http://www.yeshualeader.com.

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