What should be the leader of today?

2 Sep 2016

The best leaders are those for whom the margin is not stranger, who knows, loves and contact it. Christ is absolutely marginalized: He was destroyed, and that in the Resurrection happens that we can neither understand nor explain, because Jesus with his death overcomes the death.

Photo: Oleksandr Laskìn

President of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Bishop Borys Hudzyak for the magazine Insight LvBS Inside tells what should be the leader of today, how to survive the crisis of leadership, to combine human and technology, how UCU was started, as well as about the speed of life, and how to survive fatigue. 

This means that the leader should really deeply change the people, the community and the society, it should work selflessly and be ready to sacrifice. We have seen how the heroes of Heavenly Hundred changed our country; they went ahead and with their absolutely selfless sacrifice forced the “body” of the country to remove a tumor. It was an incredible, sacramental and paradoxical moment. Not each of us every day is to give own life. But we are called to share and give. Do not seize. And the leader should always think what he truly seeks, and what is his goal. And when this aim is God and people, when it is not self-concentration “I build a pedestal for me, my wealth, my power”, this behavior leads to the success and creates a process that becomes viable for many.

Now the listening is very important. The leader must always be able to hear the rear, poor, marginalized. It seems to me that there is a lack of the hearing both horizontally and vertically on the hierarchies. So the very competent and talented people with a lot of experience so often disappoint: they do not listen, not hear and therefore can not maintain integrity. Their answers and words do not correspond to the needs and aspirations of those who are working, they are alienated from them. If a leader feels “over” or “before” the others, he is likely to lose the connection and no longer will be able to act independently, and become a lone soloist, who lives in his separate world.

Who should be the leader for leader?

Such a leader has to be the one who helps to pull the distance with others and see himself from a distance. Here a very fruitful is the millennium practice of the spiritual counselors, to which I also call upon during all my conscious life. It is good to have spiritual leaders who pay attention to the sacramental aspects of our lives, help us to remember the values of other people. These are the ones who help us to hear what is beyond us, and critically evaluate what is inside us.  Our collaborators or subordinates, people that are close to us, are good advisers, if to listen to them and hear. But you also need certain skills, for example, to be able to distinguish and critically interpret apt remark from not apt. 

How to survive the crisis of leadership

Moments of the crisis of the leadership are not so rare. To be faithful to the principles of the proximity to small, problematic, crippled, it will not always be easy. If you be solidary with those who feel bad, then you would also feel bad. But the most difficult is the point when we are criticized for this proximity to the rear, express non-acceptance of this trajectory down, solidarity shown to margin. But the Lord allows us to have the experience of “fail” because only in this way He really authentically can be close to those who are weak and are in the category of “losers”.

God allows us to experience that, but at the same time puts the end result before our eyes, which is paradoxical. The result is our joy of the Resurrection, in which He trampled death by death. And when the Athonite elder said: “Keep your thoughts in the hell and the heart pick up to the sky,” he testified to the fact that we are on the cross-road. Keeping my heart open to the limits and going down to poor, we discover a source of truth. It is not easy, and that is why the Church does not philosophize, and proclaims. With the countless repetitions it says: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and for those in tombs, the life he gave.” This shows that the crisis leads to improvement. But the crisis can be wasted. You can make no conclusions. It is not a guarantee of the success, but the opportunity to process the improvement. Some crisis ends in with a collapse. And crosses, taken with dignity, give us a new dimension of life.

About people and technologies: who wins?

We need from time to time to move away to a distance from the technology. Very important to this is the relationship with the nature and non-technological relationship with people.

One of the tempting moments of the technology is that they in fact allow us to see, understand, hear, do more. But it is precisely because of this, we fall into temptation and the illusion of the domination of information, communication, products process. And then we lose a sense of reality. Technology is a definite advantage, strength, from which you can get drunk and fall into addiction. That is why it is so important to try to sift systematically through the odd one and give an answer to the question: “What are the goals of my contact with technology: whether it helps me to see the world in the way it is, or because of it I formed the illusions about my attitude to the world? Does it affect me, or I affect it? “.

It is because of the technology we have the temptation to believe that we are better than our predecessors, that too is an illusion. Our moral DNA is not better than in our predecessors. And in France it is not better than in Congo.

And so this empowerment of technologies gave us the strength in our life, we need to find humility. Not the slavery subjugation, but living in peace with the world. This humility comes when there is a harmony when we can absorb the sacrament of the world around us. Technology can transform our lives from joy into a cheap and superficial stimulation of the feelings. And stimulation of the feelings is not a joy. You need to absorb the technology, but it is important not to allow them embracing us.

About the paternalism in the enterprise

The word “paternalism” is derived from the word “pater” – father, and today it has a negative value. We understand it as a concentration of all power “from the top” and at the same time powerlessness and lawlessness “at the bottom”, on the periphery. Modern Catholic social doctrine instead emphasizes on the subsidiarity. For the dignity, creativity and human performance the best is when the various issues are decided on the lowest levels. Namely in UCU the budget is formed not only by the Rector with the accountant, but also equally by all the departments of the University. Then the Rector becomes a carrier of the corporate aspirations allowing the voice of each individual to affect the general needs. Paternalism, which deprives the poor of the creative freedom in the determining of their own future, like father, who deprives children of their own will, he can not be viable.

Another context of the term is a good director that the fatherly inspires, gives what you want at the different stages of the development. It gives freedom to the new creation, and it is the imitation by the man of God’s creative process. God gave us an incredible gift of freedom, and, being all-powerful, give himself to the hands of his creation. And when we acknowledge the gift and the responsibility of freedom given to us by the father, and when this freedom is respected and related with the responsibility, then we can see the fullness of the life.

The Soviet system killed the sense of responsibility and destroyed the freedom. Now we can see how slowly we go out of this state. Some still do not want responsibility, others want to monetize the freedom. Russia is a vivid example of this, it backs itself in a corner. And that is why we should feel and cherish own responsibility at the poor, beginning, and the leaders need to understand how important it is in their callings to cherish the freedom and responsibility of the people they hold.

Why the entrepreneurship is the value

Skepticism and an aversion to the concept of “enterprise” are associated with two negative phenomena. First of all because often the word deals with the threat of becoming the object of someone’s activities, saying: “you use me.” Here, the entrepreneurs need to help themselves from the temptation to perceive people in the utilitarian way, like cogs in the business, which they are doing. The second reason for the skepticism is quite simple and easy, that is envy. The classic: “Nothing hurts me more than my neighbor’s happiness or success.” And it is also the negative, intrinsic to injured people. In the other words, a gifted enterprising people need to develop activities in the way to give life to many. Then we can see a change in the fundamentals of the business. The change itself will not happen, it needs moral and sacramental component in the business. As well as the healing of the wounds. Angry people are usually static to everything and to the success of others. Therefore, it is very important to stretch constantly the hand to those who are in the margins, and has undergone a wrongs and then to heal the memory.

How to survive the disappointment

Frustration and fatigue are natural things. Those who do not dream do not get discouraged, and those who do not work do not get tired. To restore the forces, we just need to find the time and circumstances to set own expectations. Because the greatest disappointment is related to the unrealistic hopes. But in the history we have had cases where even very improbable things were real: the collapse of the Soviet Union, liberation of Church, construction of the University, where present are even those who were at the margins – our friends with the special needs.

After the Orange Revolution, we need to understand how winding and difficult is the road to healing. Building of trust is a complex mechanism, which requires great healing and integration, “repair” that was injured and broken. We have experienced this on the Maidan, and that feeling was truthful.

Experiencing the fatigue or the frustration, recall: when we share joy, it doubles; when we share the despair or sadness, they decrease by half.

But how UCU was started, despite the skepticism from the outside

Certainty in front of the big tasks arising originates from God’s love for me, which was reflected by my parents. God generously gifted me, and this reduces the fragility and disability that often restrict the person in its actions and creativity. Next were the vision and the testimony of the Patriarch Joseph, who had to overcome much worse challenges, the totalitarianism of the 20th century. He did not become embittered, and vice versa strengthened his creativity. The feeling of God’s good word about the man, which he created and said: “This is good!”, and an example of the Patriarch Joseph, and other martyrs and confessors who overcame the obstacles, becoming for us like the lights and breaking the Communist system, which today is in the garbage of history, all of this inspired and encourages me. Patient and reconciliatory character is also important that helped that. Also the improbability of the project was its protection. Most of the environment in Ukrainian science, politics, and even the Church did not take seriously the project of the University. And who does not take you seriously, he does himself a hassle to interfere you. The presence of such a quite malevolent reaction of the environment helped this project that at his center we had the love to the neighbor and God, to evolve and grow. The desire to protect and respect the dignity of the people became cement, the driver and guide, that attracted a lot of positive people and resources. The history of this University has less than a quarter-century. In fact, this University is still “in diapers”, and the time will tell what will happen next. But we must proclaim the fundamental guidelines. Today, the teacher or the student that enters into this “Ark” may not realize which way this ship has passed and what was this voyage. But it is the Holy Spirit that filled the sails and heart. The spirit of sacrifice, discipline and mutual hearing, subsidiarity, a characteristic of Catholic social doctrine, trying to be open to the mystery are the foundation of this University. All the rest is derivative.

About the speed of life

The pace of life is now so high that they can stun us. Therefore, it is worth to understand that the Sunday is very important. God’s commandment about the seventh day is central, and adhering to the fact that this day should be celebrated is very important for us. God’s laws are not arbitrage fictional prohibition, but that what comes from the nature of things.