15 Ailments

As a leader, it is worthwhile to periodically assess you and your team’s performance against the following fifteen ailments.

Answer yes or no to each of these questions:

  1. Do you avoid criticizing, updating, and improving yourself and your organization?
  2. Are you working too hard and not taking rest seriously?
  3. Have you lost the empathy to cry with those who are crying and celebrate those who are joyful?
  4. Are you planning too much and not being open to possibilities bigger than you can imagine?
  5. Are you working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces only noise?
  6. Have you forgotten your purpose?
  7. Have you been boastful and fueled rivalries for unimportant objectives?
  8. Have you abandoned your calling and service in favor of mediocre bureaucratic work?
  9. Are you talking behind people’s backs because you lack the courage to speak directly?
  10. Do you glorify your bosses to pursue careerism and opportunism?
  11. Are you indifferent to others, finding joy in seeing another fall rather than helping them up and encouraging them?
  12. Do you present a somber outlook instead of being polite, serene, enthusiastic, happy, and transmitting joy wherever you go?
  13. Are you accumulating material goods, not because you need them, but because you think they will make you feel secure?
  14. Are you building silos instead of seeking harmony?
  15. Are you showing off and vilifying others in an attempt to make yourself look better?

Note every question you answered with a yes. Find the corresponding numbers below and flip the ailment into a positive goal you can reflect on. Then design an action plan to cure.

  1. Be open to criticism; update and improve yourself and your organization.
  2. Take rest seriously.
  3. Be empathetic. Cry with those who are crying, and celebrate those who are joyful.
  4. Be open to possibilities bigger than you can plan.
  5. Coordinate your work with others.
  6. Stay on purpose.
  7. Be humble and fuel cooperation.
  8. Your calling first; bureaucracy second.
  9. Be courageous and speak directly to people.
  10. Eschew pandering, careerism, and opportunism.
  11. Find joy in helping others up and encouraging them.
  12. Be polite, serene, enthusiastic, happy, and transmit joy wherever you go.
  13. Do not accumulate material goods to make you feel secure.
  14. Seek harmony.
  15. Never show off and vilify others in an attempt to make yourself look better.

Do these sound familiar? They are adapted from the 2014 address, “15 Ailments of the Curia,” Pope Francis gave admonishing his top-level leaders, a conclave of elderly white men who were not used to being held accountable.

Which of these will you adapt to make improvements with your leadership?

Boston-bred and California-chilled Karl Bimshas is a leadership consultant, author, and podcast host who collaborates with underestimated professionals who want to become confident, competent leaders in their field without becoming a jerk.

Improve the working relationships with your colleagues and direct reports to create high-performing teams with a collection of titles available through your bookseller or Karl Bimshas Consulting.



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Karl Bimshas

Karl Bimshas

Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.