Monday, 7 October 2013


                                               THE VALUE OF ELDERSHIP

Good day everyone. I trust  that you are having a good week of growth and stretching experiences.This past 5 days I was privileged to be on a great experience of leadership growth as I attended a course called "No Name Initiative" In next week's post I will divert from my present theme and share about this stretching experience. This week we are looking a the theme of  eldership.

Most of us have experienced eldership in some form or another. For many it would be through the constant presence of a grandparent in our lives. The love , concern, wisdom and patience provided a sense of groundedness, a sense of stabiliy, a bulwark against the insecurities and unsafe spaces of our world.

Eldership provides something which is invaluable. In the case of Alex Ferguson, his secure home  life provided he first experience of eldership. When he arrived at Manchester United, the legends Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton provided the eldership. Busby had been the manager from 1945-1969, a period of tremendous extremes in the life of Manchester United and his excellent managerial leadership was the benchmark for Manchester managers ever since. Charlton had been the most celebrated player in the life of Manchester and England and subsequently maintained a life-long leadership role at the club. These 2 legends provided the eldership. Ferguson has acknowledged that the presence, frequent chats, words of encouragement and perspective from these elders was invaluable in his time at the club. On his retirement from management, Ferguson has earned the right and joined the ranks of these elders. His 26 years and 38 trophies through the good and the bad times, the endurance through the changing nature of the sport has earned him the privilege of joining these elders.

Elders fill a symbolic space in our hearts and lives. We experience this when we realise that we can have elders in our lives even though we may never personally meet them.They act as a reference point for what could be good , true and right in this world. A marker for where we want to grow to as human beings in our world. They allow us to get in touch with our legacy as we strive to build our futures. This was so well demonstrated recently when Nelson Mandela was ill and perhaps close to dying. The outpouring of empathy was world-wide and deep-felt. He fills a symbolic space in so many lives around the world.

As we journey to our best leadership selves, we would be wise to check into and acknowledge the role which various elders have played in our development.


A) Leadership is tribal
 Some folk learning the ropes, some at the coalface of operations, some in the background providing the wisdom, guidance, advise - eldership- based on years of experience are all important in forming an effective leadership culture.

B) Leadership like a son. 
Some leaders lead better with a guiding hand of eldership in the background bringing all the good qualities
  which only leaders can bring. In this case it may be a wise idea to seek out elders to walk alongside us as we lead.



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