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A leadership course with a difference

Joe Greenan, head of Human Resources in the Irish Jesuit Provincialate took part in the first module of an Ignatian Leadership Program in Manresa , Spain, from 6-11 December. The attendees comprised of 28 people, laymen and women and Jesuits, from 24 countries including Russia, Lebanon, Belgium and Britain.  The program is designed to form leaders in Jesuit ministries who are rooted in the Ignatian tradition of service. The goal is to prepare them for mission.

Joe Greenan said the setting in Manresa in Spain where St Ignatius had a profound spiritual experience,  created an atmosphere and environment that helped those present soak up some of his spirit and also develop a spirit of friendship and companionship among themselves.

The programme impacted on four different levels: the spiritual; emotional; intellectual and social, which Joe had never experienced before. “From a spiritual aspect it was clearly outlined how we operate from a different perspective than many organisations – most organisations do not begin with a  recognition that God is active among them or attempt to discern God’s active plan”, he says.  So the program is steeped in liturgy, reflection and discernment.

From an emotional  aspect, participants were asked to connect internally with how they felt about being called to be a leader. “We were asked to connect with our gifts and our vulnerabilities, to develop our gifts and to accept our vulnerabilities including our weaknesses and brokenness.”

The intellectual input for the week was based on a program called The Global Leadership Program. David McCallum SJ from Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York presented this section of the program which details and explores different styles of leadership from the Opportunist to the Diplomat, the Expert, the Achiever, the Redefiner, the Transformer and finally the Alchemical leader. “Prior to this module each of us were profiled as to our dominant style, our fall-back style and our emerging style of leadership. It was quite enlightening”.

In terms of the social aspect of the training the group gelled very well, and according to Joe that was thanks to, “The talented leadership team of John Dardis SJ, Jose de Pablo SJ, Diego Losada, Sarah Broscombe, David McCallum SJ, Philip Endean SJ and Lluis Magrina SJ. We connected deeply with others on the program and friendships developed some old and others new.”

He said it was an intensive week with many interesting inputs, discussions and sharing. “At the end of a challenging and affirming week we came away with: a deeper sense of our own story and particular leadership profile; an awareness of our strengths for leadership and also the issues that might get in our way; an appreciation of other leadership styles in terms of historic figures such as St. Ignatius and more recent ones; a sense of the competencies needed for our particular leadership role that we are in at the moment and a framework for linking up all of this with the mission that we are serving.”

This is was the first module of the Ignatian Leadership Programme and Joe will take part in three more modules in July 2016, December 2016 and July 2017.