The Dalai Lama — Balancing inner and outer leadership

Opens in new windowIf you’re like me you probably don’t think of the Dalai Lama as a tough leader. But a Newsweek article this week says that he combines “robes of humility” with “a heart of steel.”

Tenzin Gyatso calls himself a “simple Buddhist monk”, but during 50 years of exile he has done more than any other individual to establish the cause of Tibetan freedom. Despite the theft of their land, the scattering of their people, and the increasing restrictions being brought by a strengthening China, Tibetan Buddhists are possibly “more united now than they have been for a millennium.”

In a similar way, Pope Francis also cultivates “the bearing and manner of a rather loveable old parish priest.” But he too has brought deep reform to the Catholic church, in the face of strong opposition.

Change like this doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes strong leadership.

They may be unexpected examples, but the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis are two leaders who show what can be achieved when you combine strong inner leadership and inspiration, with strong outer leadership and results.

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