leadership by bullying is an energy sucker

My latest column for the Prairie Messenger is titled Leadership can have a powerful hold over our spirits.

One of the strongest powers of leadership is the power that it can hold over our spirits. True servant leadership has the power to raise our spirits and energize us for our mission. Abusive, authoritative power crushes those same spirits and transforms our zeal into disillusion and doubt. Read more…..

Bullying is often at the root of dysfunctional leadership. We see it in the workplace, in classrooms, in homes and, sadly, in our churches. Besides making our lives miserable, these leaders bring immeasurable harm to those they are called to serve.

Leaders who speak to the heart hold the most effective power for growth and reform.

Pope smiles as he arrives to lead general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

8 thoughts on “leadership by bullying is an energy sucker

  1. How refreshing and uplifting to read your coluums and blogs.I have never been so proud of being an RC.
    Thank you and keep them coming.

  2. “Abusive, authoritative power crushes…”
    Over the past year(s) we have read and heard of scandal after scandal termed “rape culture”. While we are all aware of the specific examples across our country, we might not be as cognizant that a culture of rape begins before the sexual assault and its scope is broader. It is also that of dominating, of rendering another helpless so that she or he or they can be victimized. It is when the predator mentality becomes the dominant energy and will to act. Some will call it “real leadership”, “the fruits of competition”, “for your own good”, “sad but necessary” or “authoritative teaching authority” but behind it all is the unmitigated intention to bring other(s) into line with what “I” will. I might rationalize it or just do it “because I can”, but it is all within a spectrum of the same mentality.
    Pope Francis, as Ms Moyer so well illustrates, is the antithesis. I suspect it has been a long learning curve for him, a learning curve, a work in progress and even more challenging to him as Pope. Even in a “benevolent” situation, unaccountable authority (authoritative power) crushes. It is obvious when such power acts in a clearly offensive way. We tend to overlook it when authoritative power appears to be “velvet”, we forget that in such power the iron fist is a precondition and a final resort, that is, a constant.
    As long as “papal” or “ecclesiastical” authority is based upon “fiat” is it not by its nature abusive?

    • Sorry for the late response, Dennis. I’m not sure I understand. What do you mean….”As long as “papal” or “ecclesiastical” authority is based upon “fiat” is it not by its nature abusive?” Are you saying that leadership is more abusive by nature with the more power it holds? I can see that with all leadership there is a potential for abuse but I don’t see abuse as being inherent in the leadership itself.

  3. Isabella, I thoroughly enjoyed your “leadership” message in your Prairie Messenger column. It reminded me of many of my negative experiences in the business world, in academia, in the family, and sadly in the Church. I do hope that the outward bleeding of Church membership may stop. Thanks for the positive synopsis on many of our contrast experiences in life.

    • Thanks, Bob! The column was written with many personal negative experiences in mind. As I get older, I lose more and more patience with these little minded, abusive and power-hungry tyrants who make lives miserable for others. Here’s to all leaders of integrity. May we have more of them!

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