Heroic Leadership

Key Idea 

For the Jesuits, the principle of heroic leadership involves a bold imagination, a desire to resist the status quo and the dogmas of the day. The Jesuits called this energy magis – a resolve to always look for something more, something greater. 

Book to Read

Heroic Leadership
by Chris Lowney (2003)

Quick Take from the Book  

Jesuits equipped their recruits to succeed by molding them into leaders who practice:

  • Self-awareness (understanding your strengths, weaknesses, values, and worldview).
  • Ingenuity (confidently innovating and adapting to embrace a challenging world).
  • Love (engaging others with a positive, loving attitude).
  • Heroism (energizing yourself and others through heroic ambitions).

Quote of Note

"Heroism makes a person equal parts dreamer and indefatigable pragmatist. Xavier was sent to India but concocted the utterly unrealistic scheme of taking on all of Asia instead (utterly unrealistic except that his later colleagues pulled it off). Jesuit high school teachers operated within the more limited confines of classroom walls – but with no less heroism. Their heroism was measured not by the scale of their opportunities but by the quality of their responses to the opportunities at hand. Heroic leaders don’t bide their time until the big moment comes along; they grasp the opportunities within reach and extract as much richness from them as possible. Heroism lies in the nobility of committing to a way of life that focuses on goals that are greater than oneself." — p. 281

Related Styles: Theory U Leadership

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