Day 29 – Augustinian idea of leadership
There are three ideas in elaborating the Augustinian idea of leadership:
(a) The Leader is a Companion;
(b) The Leader is an Animator;
(c) Leadership is a Burden of Love.
The Leader is a Companion.
Augustine insists on this idea when he refers to his office of bishop. The one who presides must stay at the side. He is not one who stands at the front, separated from the rest; rather, he is at the side as a companion in the journey in Deum. The Leader is an Animator. The Leader is not like the General of an army who merely gives orders. After all, in Augustine’s mind, the only General is Christ Himself whose command should be taken seriously.
The Leader is more of an “animator” – one who “livens things up.”
Augustine describes the duties of the leader as follows: (a) To be an example to all in good works; (b) To reprimand those who neglect their work; (c) To give courage to those who are disheartened, to support the weak and to be patient with everyone ; (d) To lead the others to respect the norms of the community. The Leader then is one who, by his life of service, encourages the rest of the community towards their goals and objectives “with one heart and one mind intent upon God.
Leadership is a Burden of Love.
In an Augustinian community, Leadership is more of a burden rather than an honour. It is not an added dignity conferred on someone, but a trust that comes from the esteem of one’s companions. It is a burden of love precisely because the office should be an assurance that the community becomes the place where the commandments of love are fulfilled and realized by each of the members. And it is a burden precisely because the Leader will be accountable to God who has created the community which he is called to serve.