Thursday, October 29, 2009

Leading priest sociologist says leadership is the crucial issue facing society

Leadership is one of the most critical issues facing society right now according to a leading priest sociologist.

Leading sociologist Fr Harry Bohan, who is a Killaloe diocesan priest as well as a former Clare hurling selector, made his comments ahead of next week’s annual Céifin Conference in Ennis.

Speaking this week he said that, “There is a need to move from a command / control type of leadership to a more participative, visionary and accountable model – one that is underpinned by values of honesty, integrity, truth and accountability.”

He added, “One of the most critical tasks facing us as a society in the 21st century must surely be the redefinition of leadership - at all levels and in all spheres of life. “

“The 20th century was very much the era of the institution. Our lives were shaped by institutions - whether financial (banks), spiritual (church), corporate (big business) or political (parties),” claimed Fr Bohan who is the chairman of Céifin 2009.

He added, “Problems arose when those institutions that were central to our lives became ends in themselves and lost the notion of service upon which they had been founded. Trust has been broken in many instances and broken trust is not easily mended. Many institutions will have to return to first principles and ask themselves some basic questions. What are banks for? What is the church for? “Is politics about parties or people? How can business and community connect?”

“It is evident that to overcome the understandable cynicism, frustration and anger that broken trust and poor leadership have generated, a new kind of leadership is called for – a leadership of service. Ministers, whether they be of church or state, would do well to remember that to minister is to serve,” Fr Bohan cautioned.

The Céifin conference, which will be held in Ennis on November 3th and 4th, will address the vision, values and leadership necessary for a just, enlightened society.

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