I picked up a copy of Charles Handy’s third edition of “Understanding Organizations” from a National Trust used book sale held at Wimpole Hall, my local NT retreat we often visit with the children. It cost me the princely sum of £1.30 and is full of pencil annotations. I was hoping they would be from some Cambridge Professor of business who had imparted several nuggets of wisdom unwittingly but this, alas, doesn’t seem to have been the case. There are a couple of post it notes with comments about self knowledge – almost like a prescient warning for me to do my own reading!
The chapter on Leadership was the one I narrowed in on and there was a highlighted section of text that caught my attention – a leadership prayer. I haven’t seen it before so I wanted to share it with you.
A leader’s Prayer
Dear Lord, help me to become the kind of leader my management would like to have me be. Give me the mysterious something which will enable me at all times satisfactorily to explain policies, rules, regulations and procedures to my workers even when they have never been explained to me.
Help me to teach and to train the uninterested and dim-witted without ever losing my patience or my temper.
Give me that love for for my fellow men which passeth all understanding so that I may lead the recalcitrant, obstinate, no-good worker into the paths of righteousness by my own example, and by soft persuading remonstrance instead of busting him on the nose.
Instil into my inner-being tranquillity and peace of mind that no longer will I wake from my restless sleep in the middle of the night crying out, “What has the boss got that I haven’t got and how did he get it?”
Teach me to smile if it kills me.
Make me a better leader of men by helping develop larger and greater qualities of understanding, tolerance, sympathy, wisdom, perspective, equanimity, mind-reading and second sight.
And when, Dear Lord, Thou has helped me to achieve the high pinnacle my management has prescribed for me and when I shall have become the paragon of all supervisory virtues in this Earthly world, Dear Lord, move over.
Handy C. (1985) Understanding Organizations Third Edition. London, Penguin Group. p94