If you were considering purchasing stock in a large corporation or a large bequest to a major non-profit and read the following comments about the CEO from people with firsthand knowledge of him would you buy the stock or donate the money?
- He was never interested in bureaucratic stuff because he did not want to work as a manager.
- He would be the first to concede he was much more interested in the life of the mind than the nuts and bolts of administrative work.
Last year when I wrote that bad managers didn’t make good leaders Mike Chitty responded, “I think you can lead if you are lousy manager. You just need good managers to cover your back. Teamwork you see.”
I disagreed then and I haven’t seen any reason to change my opinion—in fact, just the opposite. Right now the largest leader vs. manager mess is playing out on a global stage.
The leader in question is Pope Benedict and the above quotes were about him.
According to a NY Times article, The church said the decision to allow the priest to resume his duties in 1980 was made solely by Cardinal Ratzinger’s top aide at the time, but church officials also said the future pope was sent a memo about the reassignment.
Obviously, leaders focus on visions and managers read memos.
The Catholic Church is the largest and probably the richest multinational in the world, so there are many business lessons to be learned from what is going on.
The two most obvious that I’ve noticed are
- protect the brand no matter what, and, more recently,
- the best defense is a good offense.
What do you think?
Image credit: Jari Kurittu on flickr