In trying times — be a leader who gives, not takes

As we strive to overcome the global pandemic, struggle to get to school and work, do our best to keep our jobs, our character will be our strength and will matter as much as our competence. In 2021, servant leadership will be to our personal and competitive advantage.

Psychologists tell us that when there is a threat to our lives and our jobs, we become more focused on our purpose. Each one of us are looking out for jobs that will boost our confidence. We are in search of something that will give us a feeling of contributing to something that is larger than ourselves.

As Catholics we believe that God has blessed us with life and we need to share this life with our brothers and sisters. No person is an island, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made us realize that despite the fear, we have reached out in self-giving.

Over the months we have seen many expressions of kindness. The heroic commitment of health workers who have put their health at risk. The ones

responsible for essential services who have worked hard for social coexistence. Priests and religious who have led their congregations through the difficult months inspiring them to trust, grow in faith and increase their hope.

Sadly, however, there has been shameful situations that have been marked by selfishness, where personal gain at the expense of benefiting the community and the country has been evident. The lack of willingness to share is a clear indication that people do not understand that this global health and economic crisis demands a global response.

We need to go beyond ourselves. It will be to the advantage of the ones we assist as well as be of great benefit to ourselves. This is ‘servant leadership’.

It will give us an edge, keep us motivated, creative and constantly developing our own talent. Servant leaders are givers, not takers. They put our interests of people above their own. They realize that they are the most important resource in the company, team or group. They are ready to go beyond an office schedule. They are people with a vision and a mission. They create opportunities for growth of themselves and of others.

May 2021 be a year of reaching out and giving. May each one of us be servant leaders.

Father Ambrose Pereira SDB is the Community and Social Communications Secretary for the Don Bosco Technological Institute in Papua New Guinea.

This article is courtesy of The Catholic Reporter which is a publication of the Catholic Bishops Conference Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands.

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