About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“The authority of the Pope is not unlimited. It is at the service of Sacred Tradition. Still less is any kind of general ‘freedom’ of manufacture, degenerating into spontaneous improvisation, compatible with the essence of faith and liturgy. The greatness of the liturgy depends—we shall have to repeat this frequently—on its lack of spontaneity.”
— Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (2000)

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Do Leaders get along well with other Leaders?
published 25 May 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

Recently someone said “You can’t have two leaders, it’s like two heads on one body.” I have been thinking about this because sometimes I don’t get along with someone I think I will do great with. I have all kinds of theories. But now I think in many cases it is because leaders both attract and repel each other.

We all know that, typically, in religious communities the founder is a flamboyant obvious leader, but then is, eventually, and often painfully, deposed to be replaced by a leader who is more quiet and prudent. A professor asked his class if they thought if two people were both saints that they would get along. They all said “yes.” But he said “no!” Why not? Because you can be full of heroic virtue but still have personality conflicts. If both are leader types, then neither one wants to give up his/her vision to simply bow before the vision of the other.

Sometimes we think we are not leaders because we don’t fit the stereotype of leaders we admire. At a workshop on leadership by a psychologist, she asked us to offer definitions of what a leader was. Socratic style, she finally led us to her definition which was surprising: “A leader is anyone who others will follow.” Duh!

So what Christian remedy to I see for leaders who clash? Look at Scripture! Eventually Saul and David had to split even though David thought he just wanted to be Saul’s soldier. After making up on major issues, it still seemed good that Paul went off from Peter’s domain to “do his own thing.” By the time they were both being crucified they probably had more in common than different.

You might check this out in your own situations. Without one or the other being a formal leader, if both are leaders by individual call, chances are they may have friction in spite of lots of admiration. When I first came the seminary, finding myself surrounded by genius professors in related fields, I thought it would be nifty to persuade them to cooperate in my dream of panel style inter-disciplinary courses. No takers. I was disappointed until I noticed that in our large dining room, typically professors fan out rather than compete for “head” of the table of seminarians and lay students.

My prayer should be “Jesus, not my way, your way. Thank you for wonderful people to admire. Let me let go, however, of dreams of team work that can’t work because of friction of leaders. Let me put loving forbearance above grandiose schemes.”

Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.