On Easter Sunday, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis delivered his Easter benediction. Thankfully, it's not just the pontiff's followers who can benefit from his words: As a business leader, you too can learn a thing or two about the importance of love, mercy, and freedom in times of crisis.
Here are four lessons you can apply to your business and your life.
1. Remember to be merciful.
Whether you are a world leader dealing with terrorism or a CEO fighting against competitors who are trying to beat your business, it is easy to succumb to negative feelings. But Pope Francis says you need to be merciful: "Before the spiritual and moral abysses of mankind, before the chasms that open up in hearts and provoke hatred and death, only an infinite mercy can bring us salvation."
2. Show compassion for the marginalized.
It is easy to be prejudiced against people who are different from you. But as a leader your job is to bring people together, to keep your employees safe, and make sure others feel protected. You should not close your doors to people in need. Pope Francis says you should should show love and compassion for those "who hunger and thirst, strangers and prisoners, the marginalized and the outcast, the victims of oppression and violence."
3. Be respectful of all.
In times like these, when fear and violence dominate the headlines, Pope Francis says it is important to "water the seeds of hope and prospects for peace." He says to practice good will and cooperation. As a leader, you should realize you govern a community within your office and you need to build "a fraternal society respectful of the dignity and rights of each citizen." Business can be cutthroat, but you should be leading through positive and life-affirming tactics.
When something bad happens in your company, you should "work for the common good, seeking spaces of dialog and cooperation with all," as the pope says. "May efforts be made everywhere to promote the culture of... reciprocal respect, which alone can guarantee the spiritual and material welfare of all people."
4. Do not exploit the earth.
Making money is important for a business, but not if it comes at the expense of the environment. Pope Francis reminds us that climate change affects everyone and we should not allow for the planet to be destroyed. "On this glorious day, 'let the earth rejoice, in shining splendor,' even though it is so often mistreated and greedily exploited, resulting in an alteration of natural equilibria," he said.