Monday, June 27, 2011

Real leaders Don't Hide Behind Secretaries . . .

This weekend I came across an article on Mother Teresa and was reminded of my first meeting with her a good 30 plus years ago. I had just stepped out of my teen years and had a taken a job with a Christian agency editing a newsletter for them. I was also responsible for their Library of inspirational movies. One day we got a call from one of the sisters who worked with mother Teresa asking if we could organise to show her team an inspirational movie. When I said that we would be happy to do it, she asked me to meet Mother Teresa later in the day to decide which one should be screened.

I had heard of Mother Teresa and the good work she was doing and felt privileged to meet up with her. That evening I reached the Mother House the headquarters of Mother Teresa with a lot of excitement. I wanted to meet the saviour of the poor. As I walked into the compound I saw lot of activity, the sisters were unloading a huge trailer truck filled with baby food which had arrived from the port, a gift from some European country. I walked past the truck looking for the Office where I could announce my arrival and wait for the meeting.

Unfortunately there was no one in the office; it appeared everyone was helping out with the unloading. After waiting for a few minutes I asked a sister who was hurrying into the adjoining storeroom with as many packets of baby food her outstretched hands could hold about Mother Teresa. She directed me towards the truck and said that I would find her there. I had to ask again as I could not find her there ( I expected her to be standing around the truck or supervising the unloading) Some one pointed me to a frail Nun unloading the truck and said that is mother Teresa. I was taken a back! I did not expect the famous mother Teresa to be unloading a truck!

Soon I introduced myself and she said that she would be with me as soon as the truck was unloaded and then as an afterthought asked me if I would like to help out. Soon I too got involved in unloading the truck. Later when it was done, Mother Teresa sat down and talked to me about the kind of movie she wanted her sisters to see.

After that I met her many times but that first meeting will always stand out for me . I went back touched and inspired by this extraordinary lady. It was a humbling experience to see Mother Teresa unloading the truck. There was no need for her to get involved in that task as she had an army of people at her command and they could have got it done but she joined in!

It was only much later after I joined the corporate world and worked with a number of Bosses that the full significance of her actions dawned on me . . . Real leaders don't hide behind secretaries or closed doors, they are where the action is, with their troops, getting their hands dirty and extending Support to make things happen!

No comments:

Post a Comment