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To stay humble, look to Pope Francis

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Minutes after Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis in March 2013, he showed his humility. Meeting other cardinals as pope for the first time, he chose not to stand on a platform that would force him to lord over his former peers.

“I’ll stay down here,” he said.  

Remaining at their level signaled that the new pope didn’t feel more special than other cardinals. Since then, he has broken tradition numerous times to show that he sees himself as no more important than anyone around him.

Follow the pope’s example to win over your team:

√ Say no to perks. Just because you qualify for a bigger office or a designated parking spot doesn’t mean you must indulge. Denying yourself such perks sends the message to employees, “I am not above you. I am one of you.”

Spread the wealth. Beware of spending company funds on fancy parties or pet projects that you favor but that others deem wasteful. Show humility by hosting simpler, more meaningful celebrations with your staff. Rather than schedule a banquet for a few of your top performers at an exclusive country club, throw a backyard barbeque and invite your whole team.

Welcome visitors. Design your office to make employees feel like equals. Avoid ostentatious displays of your authority. Don’t sink in a papal throne while others sit on cheap chairs.

Arrange your seating so that you chat informally around a small table. Offer visitors snacks and beverages and take pleasure in serving them.

— Adapted from Lead With Humility, Jeffrey Krames, AMACOM.

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