Ten theses about the integrity of a leader from bishop Borys Gudziak

From the lecture ‘Values and integrity of a leader’, organized by ILM UCU on December 11, 2017, as part of the program ‘UCU Leadership School’


1. A leader needs values and integrity. It is not only an internal property of such leaders. Their integrity has to cover also the environment: those he works with and for. People who build up an enterprise, manage a nonprofit organization, work in politics - need (not less than any leader in clerical, spiritual life) to think over such questions as who a human being is, who they are themselves, who their colleagues, clients, wards, anybody who they are supposed to serve, are.

2. If we come to think over about our lives, our birth, our or somebody else’s death, our love, laugh, tears, joy, - everyone sooner or later jumps to a conclusion that there is a lot of sacraments in life. There is a lot of stuff which cannot be grasped rationally, which is not strategic thinking. If our human understanding doesn’t admit this sacrament, much of the most valuable stuff in life is left behind our concept: who leaders are, who they can be, what they should be like.

3. A human being in the image and likeness of God. They are assigned by God to live in this world and to live with God in eternity. A good leader understands this essence of a human being and their designation. Somebody who denies dignity given by God, the likeness of God, and the designation defined by God, - cannot be a good leader...

Somebody who doesn’t meet people as a sacrament, as saint creatures, and doesn’t accompany them in their development, providing opportunities to expand the talents given by God - such manager cannot be called a great leader.

4. Everyone stands in front of God. Despite the weaknesses which inevitably appear in human life, there is a permanent endeavor in the consciousness to grow and preserve. To cure faults with words like ‘I apologize’, ‘I made a mistake’, ‘I hurt you’. The world needs people who acknowledge the dignity given by God, because of the resolution of gratitude: I am grateful that God has given you to me.

5. If I want to learn something about a leader or an organization, I ask a question: Can your leader thank his/her colleagues? How often does he/she do it? If yes, then can he/she apologize, can he/she repent?

6. Humility means life in peace. And peace can be explained in different ways. One of its properties is the ability to take the world as it is. First of all, to take God, and know that you are with God, to take the dignity of fellow human beings, the beauty, the reality of the physical world, and to live in this world, to live in a humble way.

7. Major Archbishop Lubomyr had no money. He gave up power, he was blind, weak, but he was the most respected leader in Ukraine, had the highest moral authority. It was because either for a president, or for members of parliament, for clerical leaders of all religious denominations, for entrepreneurs, for hipsters, rock-stars, youth, taxi drivers (I mention all these categories here, because I heard them saying so, I saw them at that time) he addressed the sacrament of their being. He used to speak in very simple words, he was good at finding words. He used to do it with the sense of humor, with a smile. He knew how to do it in various languages: Ukrainian, Polish, German, Italian, English. He used to do it in a contemporary way via blogs and TV shows. He used to do this especially after he retired, astonishing the world full of lust for power, by himself giving up the power. And he used to help the country, help everyone who would listen to go to the depth. Do you remember the words he used to repeat very often? ‘I want to be a human being. I would like to be a good human being. I am working on it.’ He was able to be such a unique leader because he knew what a Human being was. He interpreted a human being as a value, and he used to take a human being, human experience, the mankind in an integral way. His approach wasn’t that of a moralization, application of the commandments or usage of his clerical status in order to rule someone or something. By the end of his life, all his belongings would fit into just one or two small suitcases. He gave up power. He needed someone to support him under his arms when walking. He couldn’t go anywhere or do anything all on his own. But what a power of speech and personality he had! He used to raise the entire nation!


8. How should we act today in our lives, our callings? The answer should be based on a deeper question: how I see a human being? How do I see people? How do I see my productivity? Do I understand that in everything (my goals and means) as a leader I am supposed to raise people? To see their holiness, to show it to them, and, probably, to reveal it to them. And based on this foundation I should develop my methods and tactics.

9. A lot can be said - and should be said, as well - about how to get from A to B in terms of tactics, how to ensure the results, how to guarantee income, how to build structures. But what is it that the world strives the most? Guides who can do all this, but, most importantly, do this in such a way that makes people prosper, to let every human being be a human being: strong and weak, healthy and feeble, rich and poor, white and black, men and women, young and elderly. If we can ask the question about values in such integral way, then there is a big hope that we can develop such leadership approach, such methodology as a guide which inspires life.

10. Ukraine needs today - more than ever - young leaders who can work for a human being, for others, to give their time, their efforts in order to raise another human being. And to have it as a source of feeling own growth, own contentment.


Prepared by Liudmyla Levcheniuk

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