In his widely published book, Andre de Ruyter the former CEO of ESKOM, called President Ramaphosa a “Country Club Manager”. I don’t hold any thoughts or judgments on de Ruyter’s tenure in ESKOM but an interesting observation…
This reminded me of the important role that Leadership (and ethics) play in government, business, industries, and other sectors.
A country club manager is defined in the dictionary as a person’s management style that pays a lot of attention to subordinates’ security, well-being, and harmony. This implies that one is more people-orientated and less task orientated. Not necessarily a wrong style – the ideal is to be strong on people and tasks – but success depends on the context or situation.
There are a host of books and ideas about Leadership – what it is and what it is not. The spectrum of leadership styles ranges from the abrasive, no excuses, and dictatorial style of Jack Welch who during his 40-year career led General Electric to year after year success around the globe in multiple markets to the servant leadership style of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
What every student of leadership agrees on is that there is no right leadership style. As mentioned previously, it depends on the context and the situation – called situational Leadership. Jim Collins in his book ‘’Good to Great’’ calls embracing the “genius of the AND’’ rather than the ‘’tyranny of the OR’’.
Achieving a balance between tasks and people is a skill that can be learned. The Blake and Mouton managerial grid is a useful tool to reference.
Jim Collins has identified 5 key traits of good Leadership:
- A personal sense of humility
- A deep personal understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses
- A laser-like focus on the organisations purpose
- A passionate commitment to continuous learning
- A relentless determination to do what is right, not what is easy
These were published on 16th October 2001, but I believe it stands the test of time in these heady and turbulent times, especially number 5.
There are many negative things happening in our country and business leaders are understandably downbeat – from load-shedding, political uncertainty, poor economic growth, and the collapse of many state-owned enterprises to name a few. Many of these problems were caused by poor or lack of Leadership.
However, I would like to quote Colin Powell from his book ‘’In Life and Leadership’’. In the book he mentions 13 rules that he lived by. I quote Rule 13.
“Rule 13: Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. Perpetual optimism, believing in yourself, believing you will prevail, and demonstrating passion and confidence is a force multiplier. If you believe and have prepared your followers, the followers will believe’’.
Author: Gerald McKinnon: Chairman of the ODI Board
- Andre de Ruyter – Truth to Power
- Jack Welch and Suzy Welch – Winning
- Ken Blanchard – The Servant Leader
- Jim Collins- Good to Great
- Colin Powell – In Life and Leadership