Contributor: Mr. Panache

Developing Value-Centred Leaders

While many technological developments over the past half century have allowed us as nations to have instant access to a vast array of information sources and research; South Africa is also re-entering global markets especially after the Presidential Inauguration, and with this acceptance; will come major opportunities and threats for companies. Previously, research indicated that “Ratings agencies had flagged SA’s slow economic growth as a major concern”. The National Development Plan stated that SA’s economy needs to grow at an average of 5.4% annually in order to address the country’s high unemployment rate, which is at 27% and growing.” These were sentiments in 2018 and the country was experiencing what was a supposed new dawn that came with a supposed renewed leadership. It is 2019 and yet, we see new dawn and renewed leadership; we see political landscape changing.

Since 1994, people wanted to see change and they wanted to see it then. But, they still have high hopes in the administration of their country, South Africa. Question is, will Ramaphosa be any different and will he deliver?

With high hopes, also comes differing sentiments and seemingly, change in the land is only seen as synonymous with iconic individuals such as the Late Tata Mandela. Mandela was known to be one of the few leaders capable of inspiring confidence both inside and outside the country, striving to effect change whenever necessary and affording those without opportunities a chance to participate in mainstream economy. South Africa, as unique as it is and a country blessed with city life, adventure, wildlife, cultural receptions and scenery coasts; transforming the country will, however, require so much of changes in disciplines, behaviours, attitudes, perceptions and conducts of people; particularly those surrounding leaders. The reshuffling of the cabinet is just the tip of an iceberg, more in-depth changes are necessary if we are to see consistent change.

With all the aggressive commitments to programmes of economic recovery by our government of the day in the land, most small businesses are still not able to sustain operations past the first year of business. Seemingly, businesses are making great strides in forming great relationships with the rest of the world and amongst themselves, proving they are self-reliant. It is the entrepreneurs steering these businesses and embracing the rapid progress in communication and technologies. Question is, does the government really see all that?

For the country to achieve the economic growth projected at above 5% annually, the traditional apartheid practices of the South African society, which have built up so much residue in the lives of the people, would need re-developing and reformation.

Hope is needed for the people and it is needed now. But, how will the current businesses ever be able to create jobs and employ people, sharing the mandate with huge entities when their operations are not given the much needed support.

Keen Panache is one typical example of entities striving to sustain operations and source funding to complement its competitiveness. Intense fears, mistrusts and polarisation between racial and ethnic groups are still some of the factors that have direct and indirect impact on the growth of SA as a country, and on the success of small businesses. The GEP (Gauteng Enterprise Propeller) has managed to get us as a company to a point of distress with no luck in sourcing funding and our outlook on business with government, has made us believe that there is a reinforced wider anxiety or lack of confidence in our democracy and political institutions.

We further go on to ask if there is any truth in the statement “Leading the country cannot just be an exercise in survival, while leaving powerful interests alone?” We wouldn’t know, but we are civil servants taking interest in the political affairs impacting on our lives and businesses. We work towards finding solutions not fuelling the fire, perpetuating negativity and heightening differing opinions. Perhaps, President Ramaphosa needs to look into prioritising the much-needed political reforms such as restoring the national integrity commission, looking harder into the institutional reforms, and setting benchmarks very high on political behaviours and debate.

We hope our President is really open to change when through history, we have always known that change is inevitable, especially if we are to be a competitive land that everyone is so supposedly attracted to. Truth is, we are not going to be competitive if we constantly invest our efforts into comparing ourselves to the international standards, even worse copying behaviours. Due to the external influences surrounding our organisations and the internal factors limiting most organisation’s success, we are often put into a compelling position to seek international investments and export opportunities, which will surely place the land at the top of the system and we can do all that without copying behaviours. With copied behaviours, there are ought to be no discipline, loss of compassion and growth of corruption; affecting small businesses and contributing to unemployment. Thus our land is constantly facing tribulations like many other states.

Every small business would appreciate being World Class, with the ability to change relationships, much like public officials who can lead the system if they are allowed to aspire to their fullest potential and are also allowed to constitute teams establishing performance output norms. That’s it right there, perhaps we need values-centred leadership who would follow traditions of the past decade before so much of contemporaneity was embraced. Most importantly, the system needs far fewer traditional managers and deputies who serve as budget controllers, planners, and information conduits, and vastly more working leaders who take action and oversees the whole pie.

Leadership is committed the most in acts of impressions, acts of attractions all in the name of either having some modest influence on other business leaders or even impressing others within the system. In the process, we see inner moral compasses lost and the goal of development into values-centred leaders neglected.

South Africa is strong as a country and the land has shown numerously that it can respond effectively to prevailing challenges. If paticipatively developed core belief system are entrenched to govern behaviours and diversity is embraced, then long-term economic viability can be achieved and sustained consistently. Professionals, small businesses and entrepreneurs will need to be aligned with the vision, mission, values and strategies of the reformed system or new administration. Supposedly, the country will need to ask the following question “How can we sustain leadership in spite of all the barriers, pressures, and seductions without getting off course?” Getting off course who be losing discipline, lacking compassion and attracting corruption, while side-lining those who need help the most.

People need to witness genuine hardwork, discipline, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, shared-values and service delivery, and they need to sense the authenticity in the respective leadership. Equally so, values with omitted real and fair actions are a little more than just meaningless statements of intent.


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