Interestingly, was it fear of the discipline he imposed or love of his father- like role that players remembered? Sir Alex attributed his success to consistency and respect.
Tony Blair also spoke about having to take radical action to keep his party electable by making strategic changes risking opposition from within his party. Politicians have to be cunning planners and thinkers to stay ahead in the game. Removing opponents was about leadership power struggles in his particular line of business.
How all these leadership qualities transpose to church life is perhaps another matter, but I do know that we have to look for radical change if the church in general is to survive. We need strong leaders who can think strategically but who remain consistent to the core message of Christianity.
Attention to detail, knowing and understanding who we are serving are 'key' to successful leadership. Being passionate about what we believe in and encouraging others is also a leadership quality that we so badly need in church life. Maintaining the status quo isn't going to grow the church of the future. The renewal of the church has to be through the younger generation and building for the future means giving young people responsibility to be actively involved.
World of difference
The church may not be competing for European and world titles, we may not be running a multi-million pound business, signing the latest prima donna of sport and commercial enterprise, but we are in the business of growing a church that is sound and reflects the core teaching of Jesus -namely to love and care with compassion for each other. Leaders are essential for this and with the right qualities and approach they can make a world of difference.
Leadership by Rev Dilys
'Growing' new leaders is one of the goals that has been identified and prioritised in the recent Parish Mission Action Plan (MAP) meetings.
The other evening I watched a televised interview of Sir Alex Ferguson (former manager of Manchester United football club) on the subject of successful leadership. The programme tracked an event at the London Business School where students from Harvard University were learning about what makes a good leader.
Nick Robinson (BBC) was the interviewer and used additional material from interviews with Tony Blair and also from key players from Manchester United who had played under Sir Alex's watch.
I found it fascinating because, during his time with the club as manager, he had led the squad through numerous cycles of rebuilding the team from new younger players. This gave him a continuous momentum of developing potential skill and passionate commitment.
The model of trying to preserve a successful team by tinkering around the edges was not on his agenda. Radical change and risk-taking were at the heart of his management style and he consistently worked with this in mind. He had the courage to dismiss players when necessary and yet gave support and encouragement to his' family' of players, coaches, cleaners, laundry workers, groundsmen and so on - all who were part of the hugely successful operation at the club headquarters.
It was his attention to detail, knowing everyone's name, of making sure that players on and off the pitch were behaving in a manner that he expected, or rather demanded, that made him one of the most respected football managers of his time.