FEATURES TUESDAY, JANUARY 1,2008 17
Leadership is everyone’s vocation
On Nov 29, 2007, some top executives of TNK-BP (http://www.tnk-bp.com), the biggest foreign
PHOTO COURTESY OF ECLD investment firm in Russia, attended a Virtuous Leadership seminar at the Hotel Balchug in
“Leadership is character, it is not reserved to the elite. It is the Moscow. From left to right: Yankovoy Evgeny, Oil & Gas Lead Specialist, International Affairs;
Derevleva Marina, HR Director of Mozdakov Yaroslav, Oil & Gas Manager, International Affairs; Tanaschuk Sergey, Oil & Gas
vocation not of the few but of the many,” says ECLD founder MTS (mobile phone)
Alexandre Havard. Senior Manager, International Affairs.
A close encounter
By Leo R. Maliksi said. And in the words of St. Josemaria, greatest political, intellectual and
another great man of the 20th century, religious leaders of modern times, and
“It means greatness of spirit, a largeness from his personal experience to show
of heart wherein many can find refuge.” that being a leader is less about leading
with goodness WHOEVER WOULD BE GREAT AMONG YOU
MUST BE YOUR SERVANT.
- MATTHEW 20:26
Humility according to the German
philosopher Josef Pieper, “is not
primarily an attitude that pertains to
a nation, rising to the top of one’s
profession, or leading armies into battle.
“Leadership is character,” he said. “It
the relationship of man to man: it is the is not reserved to the elite. It is the
BY ALEXANDRE HAVARD They were all there heads of state, attitude of man before the face of God.” vocation not of the few but of the
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION European royalty, Muslim Imams, Humility is a religious virtue that makes many.”
Hindu Brahmas, Buddhist monks, man acknowledge his being a creature “And character is forged not by
A random incident, as beautiful as it was unexpected, Jewish rabbis, Christian pastors, and of the Supreme Being. The thought that codes of ethical conduct, but rather
comes to mind whenever I contemplate the greatness of the Catholic nuns. They were attending the God is everything and he is nothing through the cultivation of the natural
human heart, which is the sine qua non of leadership. funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II, their does not upset him. and supernatural virtues passed down
It occurred on a bus journey from St. Petersburg to presence a testimony to this man’s This is ultimately the wellspring of through classical Antiquity and the
Helsinki on a bitterly cold winter’s morning in 1992, not virtue. No other person in history can John Paul II’s power to draw millions in Judeo-Christian tradition.”
long after the fall of Communism. This was a time of claim to have had such a big number of his lifetime and at his death. The Virtuous Leadership program
plunging production, skyrocketing inflation, and rampant political and religious leaders present at Now, the many other virtues of this shows that leadership and virtue are
unemployment throughout the former Soviet Union. Elderly the celebration of his passing away. priest from Poland and of many other not only compatible; they actually mean
Russians found themselves in especially dire straits as Celebration is the right word because world leaders who have made a the same thing. One’s growth as a
inflation wiped out their already inadequate pensions. Many their being there confirmed the impact difference in our time form the core of leader runs parallel to one’s growth in
were reduced to collecting discarded bottles from waste bins this Catholic pope left in their lives and Havard’s Leadership Seminars. “The virtue.
for the deposit money. It was their only way to survive. on the world. content of our seminars are founded on In the words of the late Peter
As the Finland-bound bus sped through Russia, I was What was the source of John Paul the principle that leadership is a Drucker: “It is character through which
struck by the contrast between the pristine winter II’s charisma? It was his magnanimity question of character, that character is leadership is exercised.” Warren G.
landscape hurtling past my window and the less than and humility virtues that according to virtue in action, and that every human Bennis, an American scholar,
edifying moral atmosphere on board. Alexandre Havard, the founder of the being is capable of acquiring virtue and organizational consultant, writer, and a
The passenger in front of me was sloshed. He appeared European Center for Virtuous growing in virtue.” pioneer in contemporary leadership
to be comatose. The passenger to my right thrust his hand Leadership (http://www.ecld.org), are Havard, whose parents immigrated studies, said: “Leadership is a metaphor
into his pocket and came up with a crumpled pack of the qualities of a true leader. to France from the Soviet Union, draws for centeredness, congruity, and balance
cigarettes. He regaled me with stories of a lost weekend of “Magnanimity is not madness,” he from the lives of the some of the in one’s life.”
carousing, as he chafed at not being able to light up.
Much to his relief, our bus put in for a rest stop in front
of the railway station at Vyborg, the last Russian city before
the Finnish frontier. With the sun shining brightly on newly
fallen snow, I bundled up against the cold and set out to
explore the area around the station.
Aretology is the science of virtue
Presently, I came upon an old lady rummaging through BY ALEXANDRE HAVARD theology speaks. Plato defined the main selling advocate of “principle-centered”
a large pile of refuse to find something she could use or sell EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK "VIRTUOUS LEADERSHIP" human virtues as prudence, justice, leadership, Stephen R. Covey (USA,
or cash-in for the deposit. I reached into my pocket and courage, and self-control, though the 1935-).
came up with my few remaining rubles: “Babushka, please Aretology the science of virtue poet Pindar and the playwright Josef Pieper builds on the
take these.” She looked me straight in the eye and smiled was founded by the classical Greek Aeschylus had already spoken of them. foundations laid by Aristotle and Plato,
radiantly, and I could see that she was younger than she philosophers and enriched by its Ambrose of Milan (4th century A.D.) Augustine and Aquinas.
appeared. Anxious not to miss the bus, I made my way encounter with Judeo-Christian thought called them the cardinal virtues, because Josemaria Escriva deals with human
quickly back to the station. and spirituality. The name derives from they are the cardines, “hinges,” on virtues from the practical point of view
Just as I was stepping aboard, I heard a voice behind me. arete, the Greek word for virtue. which all other human virtues depend. of an experienced pastor of souls.
I wheeled around. It was the old lady trundling towards me Aretology comprises two kinds of Greek philosophers, above all Plato Peter Drucker is the prophet of
as fast as she could, a beaming smile on her face and a virtues: intellectual virtues related to and Aristotle, wrote about human management par excellence. The whole
bouquet of flowers in her outstretched hand. I accepted it. human knowledge and ethical virtues virtues as did the Jews and the Romans, of his teaching (conveyed in 31 books) is
She left without saying a word. related to human behavior. Intellectual Cicero and Seneca the best known, permeated with deep aretological
We crossed the border and I lay back, closed my eyes, virtues help us grasp reality, while followed by Christian writers, especially considerations. Drucker once said, “All
and pictured her buying the flowers with money she so ethical virtues help us act in accordance Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. of those who have written about me
desperately needed for herself and no certainty of finding with human nature. Prudence has both In modern times, a number of well- have portrayed me as an author of
me. I marveled at her absolute selflessness, her qualities. It is both an intellectual virtue, known writers have given sustained business management and
magnanimity of heart. I was overcome with joy, with a deep inasmuch as it involves knowledge, and attention to this topic. Among the most administration, which I am not.” That’s
love for life, with a desire to convert, to purify my heart, to an ethical virtue, inasmuch as that influential are the philosopher Josef right; he was a purveyor of aretology.
be better. It is by no means unusual that a close encounter knowledge is directed towards decision Pieper (Germany, 1904-1997), the priest Stephen Covey writes about virtues
with goodness makes the soul take flight, as it had sprouted and action. and founder of the Roman Catholic lay from an essentially psychological point
wings. In my book and in the seminars on Virtuous Ethical virtues are also called human organization Opus Dei, St. Josemaria of view. His strength is his ability to
Leadership that I give to my audiences of widely different virtues or natural virtues, to distinguish Escriva (Spain/Italy, 1902-1975), demonstrate with attractive and telling
cultures and languages and religions, I strive to impart some them from the divine or supernatural management guru Peter Drucker anecdotes the relation between virtue
of what the old lady of Vyborg imparted to me. virtues of which Christian moral (Austria/USA, 1909-2005), and the best- and personal effectiveness.