Thursday, 19 February 2009

Advice to your children - leadership personified.


The leader has his or her eye on the horizon or the summit. Photo: Bob McKerrow

My last posting was on leadership and management and it engendered some lively feedback and discussion. Having been in leadership positions for a number of decades from leading mountain rescue teams and having to make life-saving decisions, directing outdoor education centres where the wrong decision could result in death, or being caught near the front line between two warring factions, and having to decide to evacuate my team or stay put, makes you realize there is a lot of clap-trap written about leadership by academics who have spent little time in the trenches. I was fortunate in being able to learn from my own experiences and by listening to my elders over the years, both Pakeha (European) and Maori.

I love that story I first heard when I was young from that great Kaumatua (Maorichief) Turi Elkington, of Ngato Kuia, when he asked me “What is the most important thing ? (“He aha te mea nui?"} When I was silent he answered, "He Tangata, He Tanhgata, He Tangata" ( People, People, People.)

In my last posting I listed the qualities and differences between leaders and managers and the most important to me is this one.

• The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.

My two youngest children are boys and I am sure they will soon start asking more difficult questions about what to do in life and seeking advice on personal
qualities.
What will my answer be ? I believe I cannot fail them if I quote Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘ IF.




















IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt
you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too
wise:


If you can dream--and not make dreams your
master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your
aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've
spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to,
broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out
tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and
sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"


If you can talk with crowds and keep your
virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt
you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in
it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!


--Rudyard Kipling

39 comments:

Tanks for Tello said...

Haha good on you Bob. Absolutely, that pretty much covers it. He was a wise man that Kipling.

Jamie

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora jamie

A wide man indeed.

Enjoy the weekend. Bob

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Marja said...

I wonderful poem Thanks for sharing it. Luckily you need it all to be a man, so I don's have to qualify

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Very apt and timely in my own life going through a few teen age struggles with my oldest son. Any wisdom helps as the path through seems blurry at times! Tara's calmness helps. Two stags coming into rut, one fading, one emerging and testing his horns.
Cheers,
Robb

Bob McKerrow said...

Dear Marja

Kipling wrote this poem in the late 19th Century so I think men should today, read women. And yes, you qualify. Have a relaxing weekend.

Bob

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Robb

I still find Kipling's poem if a big help even 120 years after he wrote it. Let's hope it might help two stags going out to battle.

I struggled with 5 daughters through their teens and I think boys are more difficult.

Cheers

Bob

kavimona said...

hey Bob, that was very insightful .... i've become a huge fan ....

i have a 10-going on-155 son, and it's crazy trying to figure out why he says/does some things !!!! especially for one who's grown up with a sister.. no brother ... and lots of cousins (girls) .... sometimes (actually, most times) i really think he's from another planet ... my husband keeps re-assuring me that it's fine... that's the way boys normally are ... !!!! ... i don't think most of them are "normal" for anybody .... specially not my son, excuse me ....i take a lot of effort and time and energy into raising my one-and-only as a caring, sharing "good" human being.... and i would absolutely hate it if he turned out to be a nasty .... but sometimes we just have to do our best as parents ... and hope we've done a good job in raising our children ....

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Hi Kavimona

As a parent, as a Mum you can only do your best. Be a good role model, love them, listen to them, give them time. Boys need their Mum so much. The love and concern you show for them, will help them in their relationshipos as they mature into teenagers and beyond. Even when they are bad, or even do something terrible, stick with them. Reject them, they will reject you and others.

I am sure with the way you care for your son, they way you love and support him, he will turn out well.

Don't be afraid to tell him quietly when he deserves it, " I am proud of you. I love you very much."

You may think they don't like it, but boys love their Mother to tell them emotional things.

Good luck and I know it will all work out.

Bob

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