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with and alongside such individuals - there are a great MANY of them, thankfully - but THEIR '
good stories' are NOT the...
To do the above, requires BOLD, forthright and forward-thinking leadership, who are
interested in the long-term future a...
systemic, inter-related and inter-connected whole and who, most importantly, understand
the value of each of the units f...
“Would I be comfortable if people did as I do?" [Am I comfortable with the example that I set
- do my actions speak loud...
This is viewed by many as a major shortcoming in the current system. While this is the status quo, the
are beginning to tell us a persuasive story about the link between a company’s success and the
emotional intelligence of...
Prof Basil C Leonard is Associate Professor at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB)
and Head of the Cent...
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Opinion Piece: In Free-Flow: Inspired by: " Guiding Principles to Understand the Future of Leadership" OpEd by Amanda Brinkmann Indigo Consulting


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Inspired by reading an Article titled: " Guiding Principles to Understand the future of Leadership" - Prof Basil Leonard, Head of the Leadership Programme at the University of Stellenbosch Graduate School of Business, I wrote a free-flow Opinion Piece - which deals with commentary & insights about the Quality of Leadership, the Determinants of inspiring and motivation Leadership Styles, the need for systemicity as well as an emphasis on the concept of: " Leadership is everybody's Business".

Though the original article is focuses more on political leadership, given the imminent National Elections in South Africa, I have allowed for commentary and insights across the spectrum of leadership needs.

These are my thoughts on this good day - the intent of which is to hopefully catalyse further thought, dialogue and dialectic - mostly, it hopes to achieve transformation from the old style of leadership to a new, inclusive, non-hierarchical system.

It also seeks to mobilise every citizen of the world to realise their responsibilities as Leaders.

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Opinion Piece: In Free-Flow: Inspired by: " Guiding Principles to Understand the Future of Leadership" OpEd by Amanda Brinkmann Indigo Consulting

  1. 1. 1 FREE-FLOW OPINION PIECE: INSPIRED BY THE SUBSTANCE & CONTENT OF: “GUIDING PRINCIPLES TO UNDERSTAND THE FUTURE OF LEADERSHIP” An article written by Prof Basil Leonard: Head of the Centre of Leadership Studies: University of Stellenbosch Graduate School of Business – Appended at the end of the OpEd 10 April 2014  NOTE: The views expressed within this piece have been written in free-flow, have not been edited and represent purely instinctive thoughts, insights, questions and commentary – which all have the intent to stimulate dialogue – whether that be engaging in an inner dialogue only and/or in a combination of both inner and outer dialogue. Elucidating article, written by Prof Basil Leonard: Head of the Centre of Leadership Studies [University of Stellenbosch Graduate School of Business] - focusing on two of his areas of expertise: Leadership and Emotional Intelligence. A short and powerful piece of writing, which makes some social as well as practical commentary on the future of Leadership in our country - and which provides a simple framework within which Government specifically could re-evaluate how Leadership candidates are selected and evaluated. The well-written and well-structured content of the article made me sit up, take note [and make notes] and furthermore, inspired me to think deeply. It moved me to set time aside, to extract some of the most pertinent points and I have taken the liberty of adding my own form of diagnosis, commentary, questions & insights: [The CAVEAT to this OpEd: * None of the insights, commentary & statements are stated as being axiomatic or generalised - in other words, I am not tarring all politicians and officials with the same brush. This is a case of: " if the shoe fits" - no matter the Party Political affiliation or public persona/profile [ I have learnt that a great many "leaders" who would be deified, by virtue of the glossy, shiny facade that has been so aptly created by the machinations of the Doctors of Spin, remain human & extremely fallible. The thin veneer of perfection fades swiftly when one starts peeling the layers away; feet of clay, crumbling up to the hips or eyeballs are a reality which I sometimes wish that I did NOT have the personal experience of. I carry this knowledge inside me - it is weighty and on some days, a great burden. * I am NOT Max du Preez- and so this short piece should rather not be compared to the quality of his OpEds [Smiling] * There ARE qualified, hard-working, experienced, passionate & motivational Political Leaders as well as Government Officials throughout the 3 spheres of Government - I state this as my personal truth, given that I had and continue to have to absolute privilege of working
  2. 2. 2 with and alongside such individuals - there are a great MANY of them, thankfully - but THEIR ' good stories' are NOT the ones which we are exposed to in the popular media * My very purpose and how I make meaning of my life and world, are directly driven and connected to the sheer inner satisfaction of contributing to Human & Social Capital Development, as a natural out-flow of whatever work I am commissioned to do; Individual, family unit, community [ whether in the traditional sense of community - defined as a population of people living in the same geographical area - or a community of practice, in the context of work environments - function at their best, when they are reminded that they have a voice, that their opinions count and are able to help shape the success, sense of cohesion, belonging and ownership of both the challenges and opportunities that we are all faced with on a daily basis. In this piece, the statements that found the strongest resonance with me, are the following: “Leadership is everybody's business." “Leadership is the business of CHOICE; of making things happen, of making a difference, also, to have to accept the consequences that come directly with the choice to lead - TOO FEW have made the CHOICE to LEAD" “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams With that all said, my contribution for this day: 1. One of the major chinks in our armour is inherent within the structure of our political system - we vote for a PARTY and not for INDIVIDUALS. As I read this relatively simple statement, I realised that I had personally not thought about the gravitas of this reality, until I was reminded of it today. My question to myself is: “How different would this country and the political landscape and leadership be, if I was asked to vote for specific individuals, rather than for separatist Party Politics?” One of the pivotal issues which pains the electorate, is the general lack of moral integrity of a great many political leaders, across the spectrum of Parties & Ideologies; this lack of integrity is particularly evident throughout the constantly repetitive cycle of making wild and lofty promises just as elections arrive, going into a form of hiatus for 4 1/2 years thereafter and then suddenly coming alive again just before the end of term. From first-hand experience, this is true of ALL political parties. Some remain active on the ground, within communities, via passionate and hard-working Ward Councillors, Community Activism and Community Leadership. Other Ward Councillors are nowhere to be found, near impossible to reach and one does not experience the presence of the political leadership within communities. Globally, the system of Resource Allocation is done, using the ' Top-Down' method. National Governments ultimately decide how and where funds are allocated and this is then trickled downwards. In reality, it is within the microcosms of our society, at grass-roots, community- level, where all of the people KNOW "exactly what it looks like when it's fixed". [Credit - Dr Barbara Holtmann] It is within communities, using the widely espoused " ALL-IN" or Harmonisation Approach [From the Paris Declaration - detailing the pooling of resources and whole-of-society developmental partnerships] that we start to build a new and positive future, by dealing with the ROOT CAUSES of the negatively repetitive social and societal problems, rather than continuing to fund the EFFECTS or CONSEQUENCES of things that are entirely preventable.
  3. 3. 3 To do the above, requires BOLD, forthright and forward-thinking leadership, who are interested in the long-term future and not just their term of office. Now, IF politicians had to, instead of switching between parties, looking for the best possible deal - actually have a PERSONAL Manifesto, proven credentials, a lived value system that would be visible through their actions - both past and present - and IF they had to be measured against their promises versus their performance, THEN, we would surely be moving towards surfacing and finding real leaders, rather than having those who have simply risen through the political rank and file, automatically appear on all sorts of lists - despite the fact that they do not have the leadership qualities, qualifications or even the track record to motivate for such a place on the lists. Again - I am speaking here of ALL political parties in our country. 2. At the Inter-Personal level of Leadership Abilities, Personal and Professional Dimensions CANNOT be compartmentalised; AND 3. Leadership ability is more qualified by the level of Emotional Intelligence [EQ], rather than on the level of IQ and Technical Skills - research by Daniel Goleman concludes that in selecting leadership, the ratio which is most appropriate is: IQ 20 EQ 80 True leaders demonstrate the following traits; * Connection * Reciprocity * Warmth * Networking abilities * Sincerity * Authenticity * Integrity * Assertiveness * Good communication skills * Negotiation skills * Robust Problem-solving abilities - this is under-scored by high levels of Personal Mastery, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and excellent social skills. It is about being to decide what happens IN us - once external forces are at work. IQ, Qualifications, Technical Skills are in fact viewed as ' Threshold Capabilities' - they are simply Entry-Level requirements. EQ should be the decided. This leads me into the concept of “Organic Intellectualism" [Gramsci]; something which I personally believe our society as a whole needs to stop and consider very carefully. In our quest to attach immense value to the Pieces of Paper of Qualifications, which we allow to be the near sole voice in terms of how we want to evaluate leadership and employee candidates, we are, in my opinion, excluding a great many Organic Intellectuals, who have, through life-long learning, the development of expertise, know-how and specialist knowledge through PRAXIS [rather than just the acquisition of islands of Theoretical Knowledge] immense value to add. These individuals are often the vessels which retain the institutional memory, deep-rooted value systems and who should be the coaches and mentors whom we defer to, in building inclusive and generative communities of practice. The statement that “TOO FEW have made the CHOICE to lead" rings very true - throughout the world. The 'Peter Principle' remains alive and well, as nepotism, cronyism and having the right connections, in government as well as within corporate environments, continue to ensure that those who are often the most inept, continue to climb the ladder upwards. Discrete areas of Specialisation - the one not inter-acting with the other - along the complete value chain, Reductionist Vertical and Horisontal Hierarchical Structures & Functional Ramparts, continue being the near only way in which the world is conceived of. This stems from Aristotle's Principles of Non-Contradiction which we accepted as the benchmark to structure our society. For the past 3000+ years, we have not once thought to reconsider the damage that this fragmented conception of our world has wreaked. The Leaders of the NOW and of the Future, are in my opinion, those who have made it their life's work to NOT become their one-dimensional Qualification or Title. It is and will be those who have taken the time to become Generalist Specialists, who experience the world as a
  4. 4. 4 systemic, inter-related and inter-connected whole and who, most importantly, understand the value of each of the units functioning within the whole. These new leaders will not continue on the path of " Business as Usual", which wants to function on the old-style ' Command & Control' Leadership, which seeks to continue to apply short-term ' Fixes that Fail' - topical, symptomatic patches that are placed on ever-growing, gaping and necrotic wounds. We see and experience the outcomes of this way of doing things in our daily lives - the sheer scale of social problem wickedness has all but engulfed us. Citizens are marching against crime, drug abuse, violence, school drop-out rates and the range of social ills that we are beset by - globally. It is good that we are waking up and mobilising. This is a first step. But, for ' leadership to be everyone's business', we cannot be sitting and waiting for some external force to come and save us from ourselves. As CEO's of companies, we cannot continually be looking downward into the organisational structures, forcing endless meetings and brainstorms [a patent waste of time and an attempt to make it appear as if business is being done] and using employees as expendable commodities, who we work to death in our quest to demand unrealistic financial growth, in the context of a world, where we have reached the Limits to Traditional Growth. As citizens, we cannot stand by and be part of the consistent, circular negative discourse, to which we are both party and contributors. We have to stand up, educate ourselves and be part of finding solutions. We have to take a step back, take a breath and understand what the root causes of the range of problems which are spiralling out of control are. We need to stand together, understand our inter-relatedness, know ALL which unifies and connects us - and together, start actively leading for positive change, growth and development - starting with ourselves and building out within our family unit, into our schools, churches, communities - and upwards. " TOO FEW have made the CHOICE to lead" " If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, become more, you are a leader" - my questions to myself and to anyone reading this piece of writing are: “Have I chosen to lead?" [My own answer is a resounding - YES] “Do my actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more?" [I can, with some certainty, answer in the affirmative - based on written and verbal ' references' to that effect] “Am I doing enough?" [The answer is NO - I have to continue doing more and contributing more - in every moment] “Am I holding myself to scrutiny, turning the mirror inwards and continually questioning my beliefs, actions and core values?" [Yes - I am and I do - it is a life-long, often very difficult journey - but it essential so as to continue to become a better human being and leader] “Am I constantly in search of new knowledge and understanding, so that I expand my view of the world and understand the inter-connectedness of all things - BEFORE I spew forth opinions and/or go over to action?" [Yes - I continue to be driven by my inherent knowledge of just how ignorant I am - the more I learn, the more I understand, the deeper the insights, the more I realise how little I know - the more I am thus driven to satisfy both my curiosity and ignorance]
  5. 5. 5 “Would I be comfortable if people did as I do?" [Am I comfortable with the example that I set - do my actions speak louder than my words - do I 'walk my talk'?] - In answer - I am human, I am flesh & bone, I am fallible, I make mistakes on a daily basis - but I do the best that I can, with the resources available to me at any given moment. I value my mistakes more than my successes, because it is from my mistakes that I learn most. I believe fervently in the greatness that is inherent in every human being - and am driven by my personal small contribution to ensuring that individual potential can be fully developed - no matter the context. There are a great many other questions that I ask myself in every moment - constantly. It is part of Personal Mastery, which is a life-long commitment, not only to myself, but to all those around me. I end off this random piece of writing, which I allowed to flow through from my mind, soul, heart and being into my phalanges and via the enabling technology of the keyboard to the platform for discourse, which is the Inter-Webs and Ether - by simply asking the reader to: * Think * Be curious * Constantly ask questions * Choose to Lead * Turn the mirror inwards - grow & develop * Have empathy through authentic understanding * Focus on that which unites us * Make things happen * Choose to make a positive contribution and difference * Accept the consequences of making these choices * Lead by example - in EVERYTHING that you do * Be responsible, accountable, inclusive, of exemplary character and ethics and motivate those around you - In short - CHOOSE to lead and to be part of an unstoppable force-field, to transform our society. That's all. Amanda Brinkmann 10 April 2014 THE ARTICLE WHICH INSPIRED THE SPONTANEOUS OPED Guiding principles to understanding the future of leadership 2014/04/09 13:00 Prof Basil C Leonard On Wednesday, 7 May 2014, a large percentage of over thirty million eligible voters will go to the polls for national and provincial elections. In the current context of South African election procedures, the people cannot vote for leaders directly, but only for
  6. 6. 6 parties. This is viewed by many as a major shortcoming in the current system. While this is the status quo, the newspapers are full of criticism against many of our current political leaders, not least the president. Areas that have come under much scrutiny in the political leadership are a lack of moral integrity (especially that of making promises that aren’t kept), involvement in crime and corruption (impacting greatly on service delivery), and personal enrichment at the expense of the taxpayers. And the list goes on. Meanwhile, we do hear of political and other leaders involved in many leadership development programmes – both locally and overseas. In the attempt to develop leaders for the future, it is often asked what we should focus on in such development processes. The difficulty or shortcoming, to my mind, is not with the actual development programmes, but with the participants who attend these programmes. In too many organisations the people are selected to attend according to their business card titles and not their leadership potential. A senior manager, therefore, cannot attend with a first line manager even if both have the same academic qualifications. In government organisations it is even worse as people attend according to their ranking in the department – director general (DG), deputy director general (DDG); chief officer; director; deputy director, etc. Again their academic qualifications or NQF levels will not matter. In this article I would like to propose four guiding principles to assist those who wish to evaluate their own leadership potential and possibly that of others. Leadership is most evident on the interpersonal level the people with whom you work reflect your own attitude. If you are suspicious, unfriendly and condescending, you will find these unlovely traits echoed all about you. But if you are on your best behaviour, you will bring out the best in the persons with whom you are going to spend most of your working hours (Beatrice Vincent). Leadership is defined in many ways, but one core element in many definitions is that of influence (John Maxwell). Influence is further explained as a process. According to Ogawa and Bossert, leadership involves influence and “it is something that flows throughout an organisation, spanning levels and flowing both up and down hierarchies”. To enable any leader to influence effectively and positively, concepts such as connect, reciprocity, warmth and networks become necessary parts of the discourse. Research by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman show that “leaders who are rated low on likability have about a one in 2 000 chance of being regarded as effective. Only after they’ve achieved likability should they focus on displaying competence, an equally critical characteristic”. It becomes very apparent that for leadership to be effective, personal character traits (such as sincerity, authenticity, integrity) need to be in place and interpersonal skills (such as assertiveness, communication, negotiation, problem solving) need to be developed continuously. The bottom line to all of this is that nobody’s leadership influence or effectiveness can be properly assessed until they are observed in interpersonal relationships (whether within the family, workplace or community). Leadership is best assessed through EQ and not IQ We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us — how we can take it, what we do with it — and that is what really counts in the end (Joseph Fort Newton). Daniel Goleman writes that “the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of … emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”; that is, they are entry-level requirements for executive positions”. According to him, his research and that of others clearly show that “emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership”. In evaluating the EQ of leaders, Goleman states that “the numbers
  7. 7. 7 are beginning to tell us a persuasive story about the link between a company’s success and the emotional intelligence of its leaders”. The major components addressed when considering the leader’s EQ would be self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. It is very interesting that the research being done by academics such as Goleman have now shown that the future success of leaders is determined by both IQ and EQ, but in the ratio 20:80. This does not mean that the engineer or the medical doctor should not be fully qualified, but rather that the IQ which gets people into the workplace is not what gets people promoted. Unfortunately this requirement of a sensible ratio of IQ and EQ is not true for elected officials, as the only criterion seems to be popularity. Leadership is always a choice – never an appointment to a position I neither started the project nor suggested it. I simply responded to the call of the people for a spokesman (Martin Luther King). Stephen R Covey wrote that “this is a bold statement …: leadership is a choice, not a position. Understanding this fundamental precept of leadership is critical because it is the key to success in any undertaking of life. When you’ve got good leadership, families, businesses, schools, hospitals, communities, and governments thrive. Under poor or mediocre leadership, none of these enterprises fulfil their potential. Leadership, therefore, is everybody’s business. It is the business of choice, of making things happen, and of making a difference.” We have all encountered people in leadership positions that have never made the choice to lead. They act the part that the role expects from them very well, but they have to rely on externals such as position, authority and hierarchy to foster their success. Making the choice to lead also means accepting the consequences that come with the choice. The deliberate consequences of leadership includes, but is not limited to, values such as responsibility, accountability, inclusivity and being exemplary and motivational. When leaders fail to accept these consequences they fail to lead. While we sometimes struggle to define leadership accurately, we are always aware when there is a lack of leadership when a situation calls for it. The South African political arena is a case in point. There are many political leaders who hide behind the term deployed and too few who have made the choice to lead. Personal and professional dimensions of leadership cannot be separated If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader (John Quincy Adams). One of the major issues I encounter in the facilitation of leadership is the ease with which many feel that the private (personal) and public (professional) dimensions of their lives can be kept completely separated. I would like to contend that this is a fallacy. This dichotomous perspective of life may be valid and possible in other areas, but most certainly not in leadership. In fact, once we step up to accept our leadership role and responsibilities, we are under more scrutiny. History is full of men and women who tried the separation approach, only to discover that the world judges us more harshly when we fail in a leadership role. This has been a major bone of contention with the release of candidate lists for the upcoming elections. Questions were immediately asked regarding the inclusion of people who have been found to lack integrity in many ways. The greatest danger in the separation approach is that of hypocrisy, which is simply the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ approach. How effectively can parents (leaders in the family) who smoke convince their children of its ill effects? How effectively can politicians (leaders in the country) who are corrupt convince the electorate of their integrity?
  8. 8. 8 Prof Basil C Leonard is Associate Professor at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and Head of the Centre for Leadership Studies. His areas of expertise include Leadership and Emotional Intelligence. Read more at future-of-leadership.aspx#Q35pl7Fuytx5Ylou.99