Finding authenticity in the leadership roles and positions we play

Matthew 20:17-28. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve

When we know people holding positions of power, we naturally strive to build goodwill with that leader so that we may gain some sort of favor. Consistent with the previous gospels, Jesus dares us to think beyond appearances. When a woman asked Jesus to let her sons be His left and right hand in His kingdom, what was she thinking? Was the woman thinking about the appearance of power and the apparent authority of being the left and right hand men of a king?

Notice how business students define what a typical career path is:

“I want to graduate, be a management trainee in a multinational company, and eventually be a C-level executive!”

We explain our career and leadership path in terms of positions and roles we play. But have we rarely hear people say:

“I want to be in any role that allows me to help the most number of people I could”.

We hear about positions and power, but not so much about vocation and mission. And this is what our department and college is trying to emphasize: being a management leader is not about prestige, but more about using influence for the common good. It’s easy and cheesy to say this, but it’s hard and messy to act on this. This is why I think continuous reflection, insighting, and action research are very important.

If we seek power for power’s sake, are we being authentic to what it really means to be a human? The paradox is that those we consider as the greatest leaders are those who did not seek power for power’s sake, but instead, those who sought opportunities to make this a world a better version of itself.

In a sense, appearances, ego, and power may be needed at first, but ultimately, they are distractions from authenticity and integral flourishing.

[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 75: MARCH 16, 2022]

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