I love Pope Francis. I’m not a religious man, I hasten to say, and there are more than one or two things I would disagree with him about, but there’s clearly a lot to learn from him about leadership and much to admire.
Take the cheap yellow cape he wore in the Philippines at an open-air Mass. Just what everyone else was wearing. Just what you and i would wear if we were caught unexpectedly in a typhoon. Utilitarian, ill-cut, but functional. Forget Burberry.
Pope Francis doesn’t set himself apart. And that, surely, is something that all leaders must learn. Set aside, instead, the crimson Prada slippers, the motorcades, the five-star hotels, and be the same as everyone else. Don’t kid yourself that your position demands that a special dignity be preserved. You are what you are, not what you wear.
I was equally touched to see that when Pope Francis left the Philippines for Europe, he carried his own tatty briefcase. What was in it, I wonder? Toothbrush, pyjamas, a spare pair of socks, laptop, business cards, an old sandwich, ticket, passport, cash? On second thoughts, perhaps a Bible rather than a laptop.