Lessons from Father Greg Boyle on eating your humble pie

If you want to help, you first need to listen.

The Rev. Greg Boyle, known as Father Greg, is the founder of Homeboy Industries in East Los Angeles. He says, “If you're humble, you'll ask the poor, what would help you? But if you're led by hubris, then you tell the poor, here's what your problem is; here's how you fix yourself.”

Homeboy Industries' origins date to Homeboy Bakery close to 30 years ago, and the organization offers a means of providing employment to gang members in East L.A. Few businesses would hire ex-gang members, so Boyle, then pastor of Dolores Mission Church, the poorest mission in the L.A. archdiocese, created a business to provide those jobs.

The minute you think you know how to help someone may also be the moment you get it wrong. Your intention is admirable, but your approach may be wrong. No one likes to be told how to get better; they want to participate in the process.

Managers, too, can learn from this approach. As the boss, you set direction, but it is up to individuals on the team to perform the tasks necessary to do their jobs. A manager who is always hovering, say to help out, is doing nothing more than hindering the individual’s ability to learn..

It also helps to be humble.

Humility is that openness to others. It unfolds a pathway of service to others that is rooted in self-knowledge.

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2018, Trust Across America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Trust. Also in 2018, Inc.com named Baldoni a Top 100 Leadership Speaker. Global Gurus ranked him No. 22 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 50 leadership experts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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