Leading by any other name ...

Vision for African Public Service Leadership

There is nothing like travelling the world to be reminded of our common humanity. No matter our cultural and situational differences, leaders in organizations and society in South Africa have the same human needs as those in Canada and around the world. As leadership and organization development scholars and practitioners, let us keep our work in human systems simple…listen to the human need (expressed and unexpressed), ask questions to explore and broaden understandings, and remind people of their creative capacity to find their own answers.

In my recent work with leaders in the public service in South Africa, a colleague couldn’t have better summed up the power of working with people in this way. At the end of 2 long days with many ups and downs, he said:

“You brought Yabome into a complicated situation with a foggy and rocky road leading to a mountain. You keep saying to her – ‘lead us to the mountain!’ She keeps responding ‘here is the road, you have what you need, you can go.'”

I am told those leaders have started walking where they have never gone before and THAT is my ultimate measure of success. My ego (and practical organizational and systems reasons) compel me to fret and do all I can to set them up for success to make it to the mountain. At my core however, I know that from a human development perspective, they have already succeeded and it is irrelevant whether they make it to that particular mountain. Because they will never be the same for having taken these first courageous leadership steps onto the road.

#humanity #leadership #courageous #inspired

Updated December 15, 2015