My favorite leadership story about Pope Francis

Pope embraces young woman during encounter with youth in Cagliari, SardiniaI’m a big fan of Pope Francis. His servant leadership style is such a breath of fresh air. Despite holding the highest office of the largest religion in the world, he is just so humane, so simple and so accessible. There are hundreds and thousands of endearing stories giong around about his humility, but it is a very simple moment between a devotee and Pope Francis that is my favorite.

This was mentioned in the Vanity Fair magazine’s profile on him.

A young girl had signed up to volunteer at the Church’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro where Pope Francis attended and gave a rising speech. When it was over, Francis made his way to the helicopter base— desperate to meet him, she begged an airport official to let her meet the Holy Father. Miraculously he lets her slip in.

“I walk out onto the tarmac, where the helicopter is. There in a line are all the generals. There in another line are all the cardinals. And there in the middle is the Pope. The rotors are chopping. I have to shout. I shout to Francis, ‘I want to hug you.’ Francis shouts back, “Come and get it.” They hug. She tells him she is struggling in her personal life. He tells her to pray on it. They hold hands. He blesses her. The entire entourage is waiting. The helicopter is buzzing but Pope Francis gives her his full attention and makes a moment that lasts a lifetime for the girl. 

As a servant leader, you’re a “servant first” – you focus on the needs of others, especially your followers, before anyone else and Pope Francis is every bit one. #Salutes

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