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
What will my answer be ? I believe I cannot fail them if I quote Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘ 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
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
If you can dream--and not make dreams your
If you can think--and not make thoughts your
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
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out
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
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
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt
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
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!