Sunday, April 02, 2006

George - still learning after all these years

Back in the mid 1990’s when I did my MA Management (Health Care), I was fortunate to have Professor George Giarchi as my Academic Supervisor.

I was considered by most of my peers to be the luckiest student of the group in having George as my Supervisor. When I finished my MA I asked George if I could carry on using him for professional supervision and fortunately for me, he agreed.

George is a very intelligent man and has written many books. His special interest now is to promote older people. He walks the talk too - George himself is 74 – going on 18. He still works at Plymouth University – officially for half a week. In reality I'm pretty sure he still puts in full time hours. He wants to carry on working after his current contract expires when he is 77.

Two things stand out when I think about George.

Firstly, he has often told me he learns more from his students than they learn from him.

Secondly, he has a large red ‘L’ Plate on the wall of his office. When I first asked him about that ‘L’ plate he told me it was there to remind him that he was still learning.

Two of his greatest qualities are modesty and humility and he would rank highly with any great leader I have read about or studied. Ironically, George does not consider himself a ‘leader.’

It has always interested me that many people who are in fact leaders do not realise it themselves – because how they act is just their ‘normal’ behaviour. It is usually left to academics to argue what leadership actually means.

I hope George will be around for many more years for me to ‘pick his brains.’

If there is a better role model I have yet to meet him or her.


Rocky said...

I like your thought that leadership is an example more so than an academic pursuit. George is a great example of leadership in motion. thanks.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Rocky

To aspire to be half as good a leader as George is a wonderful ambition for mere mortals like me!:-)