Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Managing Editor Loretta Shea Kline.
A set of 11 principles known as “Gentle, Balanced Leadership” guides the Unbound community in the U.S. and around the world. This leadership style flows from our organization’s core values, mission and roots in Catholic social teaching, among other influences.
Unbound’s late co-founder Bob Hentzen once described the concept this way: “With this form of leadership, we believe the pilgrim family of Unbound will continue at a sustainable pace to be a liberating force of love in our world today.”
Bob and the other founders modeled this leadership style from the beginning of the organization, long before the 11 principles were articulated and written down for the next generations of leaders to reflect upon and put into practice.
Around our office you might hear someone say, “She’s a good example of GBL.” What they mean is that person consistently demonstrates characteristics described in the 11 principles. A good leader at Unbound is someone who works with integrity, seeks to learn from those we serve, holds oneself accountable for excellent work, strives to innovate and has a humble view of his or her role, among other qualities.
Taking a humble view of one’s role, for example, involves recognition of being part of something larger, avoiding temptation to drive a personal agenda, being willing to change and helping others develop their own leadership potential. None of that can happen without a healthy sense of confidence and being at peace with oneself.
In Philippians 4:6-9, Saint Paul exhorts, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
When fear — of the unknown, of being wrong, of being replaced or something else — takes over, it can be fertile ground for abuses of power, stagnation, being too inwardly focused and other ills.
In that same chapter from Philippians, Paul says that “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Humility and peace, then, will surely follow.
Dear Lord, help us take a humble view of our roles in the workplace, in our families, in our communities and elsewhere. Strengthen us with the courage to conquer fear so we can be our best selves and live in your peace. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.