These were recent words of Pope Francis to the Italian bishops, apparently too preoccupied with their own careers and favours in the Vatican.
These are also words of wisdom for leadership. Leadership and self-centered attitudes do not go well together. Self-centered leaders are bad leaders, dangerous leaders. Leadership requires a servant attitude and this is incompatible with a self-centered focus. In fact, a re-focusing of ‘the centre’ may even be a requisite for success.
There was a moment in the 2008 Obama campaign when the grass-roots movement began to be organised. Almost in passing, David Plouffe, the then manager of the campaign wrote in is later book, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory, that the message to the grass-roots was: ‘It’s not about him, it’s about you!’. Obama was very good at re-focusing attention from himself to the issues and to the activists.
Self-centered leadership is an oxymoron, a dangerous one. The good news is that these pseudo-leaders are very visible at a distance. My advise: avoid them like the plague, because whatever they pretend to lead, the focus is most likely on them and not on the real issues of concern.