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Spirituality and Leadership in the Ignatian Tradition

"Wee need you to have the kind of courage that you will be comfortable to keep operating in environments that are uncomfortable."

Posted:  2012-03-01  

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STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—"St. Ignatius said that love ought to manifest itself in deeds, not in words. So what kind of deeds could show the impact of love in a workplace?" asked Chris Lowney, a former managing director of J.P. Morgan & Co., to his audience at Franciscan University of Steubenville February 16.

In his Distinguished Speakers Series lecture, "What 21st-Century Leaders Can Learn from 16th-Century Catholic Priests," Lowney explained that traditional Ignatian methods of spirituality can also be applied to modern leadership.

Lowney said leaders should treat subordinates, shareholders, colleagues and others they interact with as fellow Christians. "People learn better and perform more effectively when they feel safe, and when people make them feel they're valuable, and when they're raised in environments that have some discipline in them.

"The best teams that I was ever on at J.P. Morgan were teams where we trusted each other, where we were more interested in helping each other win than watching each other fail, where we didn't stab each other in the back, and when we held each other very accountable to very high standards," he said.

Prior to his career at J.P. Morgan & Co., Lowney spent seven years as a Jesuit seminarian. Against the backdrop of that training, Lowney became convinced that the fundamental principles of the 450-year-old order could be applied to foster dynamic leadership to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Challenging the Franciscan University audience, Lowney said, "This is part of your DNA in this university… this also is a place where you're being invited and mandated to turn yourself into leaders."

Lowney's talk, part of the Distinguished Speakers Series, was co-sponsored by Franciscan University's Center for Leadership and the Department of Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, and International Business.

Through the Distinguished Speakers Series, Franciscan University of Steubenville hosts leaders who integrate their faith and public life and who inspire the next generation to be a transforming presence in the Church and society.

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