I for one enjoyed watching the Sydney Morning Herald one hour and 31 minute .tv session on Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet in the lead up to the Falkland Island's War with Argentina. Titled the Falkand's Play it may be viewed at (www.smh.com.au)
In this televised program we are given an insiders view of how Margaret Thatcher led her cabinet through a maze of peace negotiations including that of Alexander Haig the US Secretary of State and that of the United Nations. In one memorable scene where the UN vote for Britain was hanging by the slimmest of margins the Jordanian vote was being seen as that of 'against'. Margaret Thatcher got on the phone to Jordan's King and instruction came through to his delegation, their vote was changed and victory gained.
The final scene is likewise powerful where a member of the Opposition challenges her Falkland's War leadership as an 'unnecessary war' and her response leaves a telling mark, that he would not enjoy the freedom of speech unless people had been prepared to fight for it.
In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by James Adonis titled "The leadership wisdom of Margaret Thatcher" her leadership is given an analysis with some of her memorable quotes along with his own summaries. (www.smh.com.au)
As I read the article, and having viewed the television play above, it illustrated a number of parallels with Christian leadership. After all leadership must have some similarities whether its a local sports club, a P&C, a social club, a blue collar foreman, a white collar manager, in business and in politics.
The essence is much the same and Christian leadership likewise. Many a young man or woman seeking theological college (seminary) towards Ordination is given approval due largely on their proven leadership roles from their local church and youth group.
James Adonis provides some memorable one liners from Margaret Thatcher: "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't." He notes that power is more about more about exerting influence.
Another Thatcherism: "Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction." James Adonis suggests Australian leadership by and large is held back by fear, preferring instead to pretend everything's okay rather than dealing in confrontation where required.
Again: "If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing." James Adonis quotes a paper where the idea of prestige is associated with skill and competence; in other words, the ability to demonstrate talent and capability. Dominance, on the other hand, was associated more with arrogance. The former is preferable to the latter, but both were found to be more effective than the boss that everyone merely likes.
Margaret Thatcher - "What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose." James Adonis observes the following: Make purpose a priority by being clear on where you're going and, most importantly, why. Instil that purpose in your employees by making sure they understand not only what it is but also how they can contribute to it. Make it safe to fail by encouraging employees to attempt purpose-driven innovation even if they occasionally flunk.
Leadership in Margaret Thatcher's ideology was greatly influenced by her Methodist Evangelical upbringing and it was based squarely on the individual "having a go" and in her political manifesto the individual served the State and not the other way round. This in essence was the huge ideological difference with the Left.
Christian leadership has all these factors involved in encouraging their volunteer personnel engaged in either local churches and missions. Take for example, the idea that leadership is about exerting influence and that it's about talent and capability. People follow such a leader. Moreover the nature of having a clear vision, encouraging contribution of ideas and being innovative.
There is an added ingredient in Christian leadership and is the firm belief and commitment to the idea that the Holy Spirit is leading ahead of the process or project.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at