Jeremy Corbyn needs to take the mantle of Abraham Lincoln

Arguably the best book on leadership I have read is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns; the Abraham Lincoln political biography.  It masterfully depicts the challenge, heartache and passion that goes into leadership in the face of cruelly fierce opposition. Lincoln’s steady strength and fortitude became an inspiration for me and I can’t help but think of him as I observe Jeremy Corbyn approach his new task of leader of the Labour party.

I care nothing for political parties but care deeply about the outworking of politics.  And so in Corbyn I see a man who’s policies resonate with me and who also appears to have been thrust into a position of power he never previously had ambition for.  At this he already differs from Abraham Lincoln – who had longed for the office of president, in order to achieve the abolition of the slave trade, his entire political career.

The most intriguing part of Team of Rivals is where Lincoln is having to bring together the huge bruised egos of flawed characters to form a cabinet that can see his nation through civil war.  The stakes are not quite as high for Corbyn – he is only leader of the opposition, the talent at his disposal is generally unproven, and the critical situation of the United Kingdom in 2015 cannot be compared to that of the United States in 1860.  Nevertheless, Corbyn will need to employ all the guile, stubbornness, wisdom and resilience of Lincoln if he is to pull together an effective shadow cabinet that he can lead through to achieve some of the political goals that he has fought for his entire life.

I really wish Jeremy Corbyn every success.  Certainly because I desire to see in this nation and world many of the same things he is working for, but also because he deserves it.  He has brought a real honesty, vulnerability and humility to the messy and brutal world of 21st century politics.  These are characteristics of a true leader and if he is able to persevere can only be a good thing for this nation and beyond.

How to be successful

I heard somebody say today that only 13% of people have goals for their lives.  10% have goals in their heads and 3% have actually written down their goals.  Those that write down their goals achieve 50 times more than those who just keep them in their heads!

Nathan’s Conclusion:  It would be very beneficial for me to write down my goals.  I’m gonna have a think over the next day or so and then post my life goals here.

What are your goals in life?

Blogging the Godfather: Part 1

Michael Corleone makes an inspiring leader.  I admire his clarity, foresight and the unerring confidence in his own decisions.  The scene that I have in my mind is where he sends Hagen to Vegas and tells him, “you’re out” and informs Tellio and Clemenza that they can break away once the family have secured Vegas.  He is so young yet betrays no fear or uncertainty.

There are many situations in my life, personal and professional, where I need to make decisions.  As I watched the Godfather with Rada, Sarah & Rosie last night I wished I could be as decisive as Pacino’s legendary character.  The truth is I can resolutely choose the right course of action.  Maybe I can’t be as quick thinking and clinically witty as the film scripts but with a little patience and discipline I believe I can be much more effective in my own decision making in my family, work and church life.

The trick is a simple one.  Just spend a little time with the ultimate consigliere.  If I were to focus exclusively on the Holy Spirit for a few minutes I know that he would give me the wisdom and confidence to make some of the most complex and pressurised decisions.  Yet I foolishly fumble my own way through the day thinking my own experience and knowledge will find the best course of action.  God knows everything.  It makes sense to listen to him once in a while.