Sunday, 5 October 2014

On Leadership

The piece to ponder today comes from "The Pilot", 1994, and is by Tony Keogh, then Rector of Trinity, on the subject of leadership. It's a suitable one to look at as we approach elections - Jersey's first "general election" - later this month.
Listening to Enid Quenault speaking on the importance of the Constables in the States last Tuesday, this elderly lady, always softly spoken when you speak to her, got up to speak, and without the need of a microphone, spoke out loud and clear, without much recourse to her notes. Even today, as much as in her time as Deputy and Constable, she demonstrates a burning conviction, an ability to rouse people, and set the people listening on fire.
And yet she was also an extremely dutiful States member, who served her Parish and Island well, and was not a time server.
People often hark back to the old days - people like Ralph Vibert, or John Le Marquand, or Jane Sandeman - men and women of great conviction, who saw political service as a way of putting back something into the community.
Obviously there were time servers there too, but they tend to be forgotten. They didn't make an impression, they left not even a footnote in the history books.
There is an interesting contrast in models of leadership in the Gospel of Mark, which is always worth considering:
So Jesus called them all together to him and said, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people."  (Mark 10:42-45)
Which of those standing will be genuine servants of the people?
On Leadership
By Tony Keogh
As readers of this magazine will know, I am a devoted bibliophile - I love books. I classify books not only in subject matter but also in types of books. For example; there are books which you read and when you have read them, rarely open again.
On the other hand, there are those, old friends which I call the `dippers', books which you can always return to, to remind you of some old delight. Denis Healey's book, "My Secret, Planet," which is a pot-pourri of his favourite literature, is such a book.
It was while I was reading part of it that the subject of leadership came to mind. There are those who say that it is a gift; some have it, some do not but most of' us could have more of the capacity to lead if we: understood the secrets of such: leadership,
The leader who men will respect is the one who is himself involved in the job. George VI was a king who had an impediment in his speech. One day, he was being shown over a cinema studio, By an unfortunate coincidence, the engineer who was showing him around had exactly the same impediment, In his nervous-ness, the engineer found he was becoming less and less able to speak. King George put his hand on the man's: shoulder. "It's all right, friend," he said, "I know what it's like."
That same King's brother, the Duke of Kent, was killed in a wartime plane crash and the same King's home, Buckingham Palace, was bombed.
When leaders are involved, the supporters find it easier to follow. The leader for whom people will, work is the one who asks for co operation rather than issuing orders. There are leaders who are so anxious to show their authority that they provoke instinctive opposition and resentment.
The leadership which invites help will generate much more help than the leadership which demands obedience, for in the last analysis, a leader must have magnetism to fire his followers. That magnetism comes from one source - it comes from a burning conviction of the rightness of the cause and an obvious sincerity of purpose. No-one can kindle people to enthusiasm unless he is on fire himself.
The time-server, the man dominated by personal ambition, is .always seen through, but men will admire the person concerned about community rather than self.
It can be seen that leadership is a costly thing:- it begins with the humbling thought that all things come from God, including the ability to lead.

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