Inspiration on Leadership from John O’Donohue

By Sharon Krohn, MCC. Written by the Irish author, poet, priest and philosopher John O’Donohue in his posthumously published book, To Bless the Space Between Us, the blessing “For A Leader,” speaks to the true essence of a leader. He challenges leaders to explore the inner human landscape and the traits of empathy, wisdom, humility, curiosity, creativity, and growth. O’Donohue inspires us that leadership is both a choice and practice — a way of living — not a position or title. 

For A Leader

by John O’Donohue 

May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not.
May you be hospitable to criticism.
May you never put yourself at the center of things.
May you act not from arrogance but out of service. 

May you work on yourself,
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.
May those who work for you know
You see and respect them.
May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.
When someone fails or disappoints you, 

May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.
May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
And may you never become a functionary. 

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of the bleak question. 

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye. 

May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.
May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth.

For more about developing the traits of true leadership, schedule a consultation with Sharon.