In any century, there is that kind of a leader that not only raises the organization but also helps to develop everything that gets in touch with it, involving people, the process of education of new leaders, the concept of a leader itself and many other factors. This person becomes an icon, somebody who we jealous and at the same point cherish over all. He brings new visions to life, opens new horizons and implements new ways of leading people to a better, generative way of taking any cause. The most excellent personality that is a perfect example of good and healthy leadership was Pope John Paul II. This person had many obstacles on his way, a lot of enemies on a world scale, and still he was not afraid of taking up a role of leading all the Catholic people of the world to the new age.
The first and maybe the most important trait that led this simple Polish boy to becoming a “person of a century” was his thirst for education. As it is said in many manuals of leadership: Leaders are readers. Carol Wojtyla had two doctorate degrees, was fluent in eight languages and still was staying a poet, play writer and an actor. When such comprehensive person enters any field of society, it brings out a sigh of admiration. Also, being a very kind-hearted, honest and open-minded, he won the people with his simple personality and his clearness of mind. His transparent and honest wishes to make the world a better place found way into hearts of the whole world. A combination of a pure heart and a sophisticated mind made him the greatest spiritual leader of the century.
Catholic Church was never an easy organisation to lead. Closed to simple people, as well as having a majority of streams and diverse situations of the believers in different continents, State of Vatican was like a mountain that was really hard to conquer. However, by the time of being chosen after over 456 years, a non-Italian Pope rouse the interest to the Church. By the time of choosing Carol Wojtyla on this position, nobody could imagine which “revolution” he would bring to the world of Catholics. The former Popes were always hidden under the curtain of the Vatican City. This was sometimes done due to security reasons, or because the Pope had to do a lot of work and write the letters to the believers. Nevertheless, they had no wider popularity around the world. John Pope II changed the faces of Catholic Church. He introduced this spiritual institution to the world in a different way, and opened it to go beyond any boarders. At the time of Wojtyla’s reign, the Catholic Church took all the responsibility for sins, committed during the centuries, in his person. The Catholic Church was no longer seen as an object of full perfection, but as an organisation that gives forgivingness and also asks for one. A legacy of the leadership is the most important thing that matters after all in any leader. The legacy of John Paul II is taken through the nowadays as an example of a leader that believed in people that were following him even more than they did themselves.
These changes were of benefit for the whole world. Most of the politicians started seeking advice in the Head of the Catholic Church. Many missions were accomplished thankfully to the fulfilled donations since the revolution of the Faith began. John Paul II started to go around the world with wise words and compassion, bringing hope to all the places and hearts he visited. Visiting Jerusalem, he paid a tribute to the Jews that died during the Holocaust, and prayed for the reconciliation of Christians and Jews. The world’s religions were mainly paying attention to winning as much believers as possible. On the contrary, this Pope just trusted that if they all believed, they were all friends. The best example of this is the establishment of World Youth Day where all confessions of young believers can take part in a common prayer. Church became a house and an ally to everyone who trusted it. John Paul II persuaded the stakeholders to be on the same side with him without any money or proposal of benefits. He won them owing to his personality. He was the only Pope who met with Kremlin leader, visited Cuba and met Fidel Castro, carried out several missions in Africa and Middle East. These steps showed his flexibility, which allowed him to meet both famous and infamous people.
Some decisions that were made by him raised critic among some circles. He had to overcome many obstacles on his way. He experienced the loss of a family, the crushing and horrifying times of Second World War, the persecution of Soviet Union delegates in Poland, and other challenges. There were some impediments that even directly threatened his life, such as the assassination attempt of Ali Agca and his Parkinson's disease. He had to fight to visit Cuba and the countries of post-communist regime, as well as with the common view of the Pope as the one who should never interfere with politicians of any country. Nevertheless, all these hindrances made him only more confident in his creed. He strongly believed in his mission of peace and unionizing of the world. He had a cause to live with every day, and never stopped to develop it globally. All the problems, unrecognized from any circle, were just making the belief in his mission stronger. Once asked about if he is not afraid of the people who do not share his visions, he answered: “I am not afraid of them. They are afraid of me”.
The time when Carol Wojtyla was elected as Pope also contributed a lot to the effectiveness of his leadership. This was the post-war time, the time of the Cold War and uncertainty, the time of changes in Europe and the world, the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union and prosecution of people. People were willing to believe in something new and peaceful. They longed for protection and faith. This is what a Church could give them with a personality of a strong leader ahead.
A good leader is the one that always stands on what he believes. This man was always standing on the side of the hurt and forgotten ones; he was protecting his faith and bringing it along the whole world. He never deviated from his objectives and goals. Even facing all of the critics, the attempt of assassination, he went on with his legacy of peace all over the globe. Without any doubt, he can be called the most effective leader of the century. This only confirms an awareness of his responsibilities over all people that believed in God. He did not judge people by any criteria, but only saw the personalities that would like to join him on his mission of world peace. He took part in resolving political issues, he was against the racial, sexual and any other kind of discrimination. Apparently, he used his vocation of Pope to serve the world in the best way he could. Along with travelling over the world, meeting politicians and even movie stars, he still found time to serve the Sunday Mess for all the people at Vatican Palace. He found time to write encyclicals and poems, as well as letters to his friends and the revolutionary leaders. John Paul II was truly an example of a magnificent leader of all times.
- Hughes, R. L., Ginnet, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2009). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience. (6th edition ed.). McGraw. Hill.
- Sharif, K. (2005). Leadership lessons from Pope John Paul II. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Leadership-Lessons-from-Pope-John-Paul-II&id=25453
- G., L. (2010, September 22). Leadership theory and behavior. Retrieved from http://leadershiptheory3450.blogspot.com/2010/09/john-paul-ii-rebel-with-cause.html