On Leadership: A Pope’s Historic Exit

Pope Benedict XVI was whisked away in a white helicopter that flew over St Peter’s Basilica on the last day of February 2013.450px-Basilique_Saint-Pierre_Vatican_dome But not even this was more dramatic than the decision of his to resign from the papacy. The exit, the upcoming election for the office, the process and the other paraphernalia are being discussed and followed up with great vigour.

Of all these what caught my attention was the action of the85-year old leader, defying hundreds of years of tradition. It is always difficult to take a path breaking decisions, especially if you are the leader whose actions are being watched, emulated and followed by millions.  The reason for pope’s decision to resign was based on the practical consideration of his body and mind not being able to keep pace with the demands of this highest office. While on one side this looks like an admission of frailty, the objective view would indicate mark of tremendous courage. The ability to put the cause ahead of one’s self. The ability to recognise and implement, what one firmly believes is right for the larger ecosystem. The courage to walk the path.

As officials sealed the papal apartments and the elevator, the world began its wait for the successor. And the man who moved out by his own choice, in all humility promised to ‘obey’ the new elect!

Here lies in this whole act a message not just for leaders but the multitudes, who hold some responsibility or other towards the larger community!


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