Dr. Salvatore J. Tagliareni, a Jamaica Plain resident, has recently published a book highlighting his expertise about leadership called “Roving Leadership: Breaking through the Boundaries.”
Dr. Tagliareni is a storyteller, writer, business, consultant, art dealer, and former Catholic priest. He developed a system called “roving leadership” based on the principle that leadership is fluid, and that at some point every person can lead in the search for outstanding organizational results. The recently published book, co-written with Dr. Janice Brewington, was inspired by this concept that Tagliareni developed.
“I kept seeing over and over again that people didn’t realize that they had something to contribute. If you have a tightly controlled organization, I will guarantee you that they are nowhere near as successful as they could be,” Tagliareni said. “People think that leadership is this phenomenal outcome. Leadership is changing little by little the circumstances in which you live.”
Tagliareni said that “roving leadership” is a concept that goes against the grain of the hierarchical concepts that he was taught because it aims to empower all members of a group by arguing that leadership is not static, but rather can shift.
“The ideal audience for this book is anybody. A lot of my work was corporate, but you can apply this to any group of people,” Tagliareni said.
He said that there is a big difference between self-esteem and worthiness; self-esteem fluctuates in any given person in any given week, and worthiness is static. “Worthiness is that you deserve to be needed, respected, and loved,” said Tagliareni. He said that worthiness is essential for being a leader, whether it be Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tagliareni said that when traditional roles are shirked, a lot of problems can be solved, even though “at the end of the day, someone has to make a decision.”
For over 25 years, Tagliareni has worked with private and public companies as a consultant for organizational strategy. He has performed strategic planning and organizational design for companies such as Johnson and Johnson, IBM, Hoffman La-Roche and Boston Financial, as well as nonprofits such as the National League for Nursing and the Independence Foundation.
Tagliareni was a young Catholic priest studying theology in Rome when his best friend died tragically. After this, Tagliareni sought mentorship under Dr. Viktor Frankl, a celebrated psychiatrist and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Frankl, a Jewish psychologist Holocaust survivor, offered wisdom and friendship to Tagliareni.
Frankl also talked with Tagliareni at great lengths about his experiences surviving the Holocaust.
“I asked Frankl how it was possible that he didn’t hate the Nazis,” Tagliareni said. “He said, they took my wife, my mother my father, my country, my occupation…if I hated them, what would I have left? He was in four concentration camps, he had typhus, he had frostbite, but he survived, and his whole belief in life was that there are always choices, even under any set of circumstances.”
Tagliareni started doing research on the Holocaust after he met Viktor and other survivors.
“After you meet survivors [of the Holocaust], your world is changed,” Tagliareni said. “People tell you stories that are just hard to believe.” He wondered how exactly an event like this could have happened.
“One of the things I found out was that almost from the beginning, the Christian community was anti-Judaism. It wasn’t anti-Semitic, it was against the Jews because of their religion. There was nothing that Hitler did to the Jews that the Christian community hadn’t already done,” Tagliareni said. “Hitler built on the pseudo-science that Jews were another race. He made it about the race primarily because Hitler had to create a villain, and the villain was the Jew.”
Tagliareni ended up leaving the ministry after five years because he felt the Catholic Church was being more and more repressive because of “bureaucratic nonsense.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the church,” Tagliareni said. But he disagreed with the church’s beliefs about women becoming priests, celibacy, and birth control.
“But, there are a lot of wonderful things that happened to me because of the church, and I never stopped being a priest in the sense of service,” Tagliareni said.
Tagliareni authored two novels of historical fiction based on his research on the Holocaust: “Hitler’s Priest” and “The Cross or the Swastika.” “Hitler’s Priest” follows the tale of an atheist man who is tasked with providing influence within the Catholic Church in shaping the Nazi’s vision of the future. This man faces moral and psychological internal dilemmas. “The Cross or the Swastika” also is set during World War II, but varies characters and locations and imagines secret conversations between Hitler and other leaders in his regime.
For more information about Salvatore Tagliareni and “roving leadership” or his other books, visit sjtagliareni.com or sjtagliareniauthor.com.