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Instilling Hope – the Sine Qua Non of Leadership

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We thought that 2019 was a challenging year but 2020 has not been a walk in the park.  Apart from the obvious political instability and economic turmoil, Bloomberg rating SA as the second most stressed country in the world made a lot of sense to many of us. In the midst of a world wide pandemic we are faced with added stresses continuing to be piled up. It is the time for leaders to instil hope. We should never forget that it is, in the absence of hope that people die – beautifully illustrated by Victor Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist who interned in the concentration camps during World War II.  In his book “Man’s Search For Meaning” Frankl describes how together with his best friend, they had survived the most terrible atrocities when his best friend said “The Allies will break into this camp on 30 March” Although he had the year right, he had the date wrong. On the 29th March, his friend became delirious, on the 30 March, he lapsed into a coma and on the 31 March, he died. Frankl said, “Although it may have appeared that he had died of typhus, he said, I know he died, because he had lost hope.”

So too, is this a time for leaders to instil hope.  The world is not broken. We live in the era of the ascendency of people-oriented leadership. The winds of change have already begun blowing up north in Zimbabwe, so too, will the pendulum, inevitably swing back for South Africa. More than ever, hope is the sine qua non – an indispensable condition of leadership.

Now is the time to reflect on effective ways in which to judge great leadership.  I am reminded of the words of Professor John Adair, the world’s first professor of leadership studies who said “We judge great leadership by three achievements:

  • “Did they achieve the common task?”
  • “Were they able to create harmony in their team?
  • Were they able to meet individual requirements?”

If we explore the legacy of Nelson Mandela – we know he negotiated this country out of a revolution, he enabled our first democratic elections and the implementation of one of the most progressive constitutions in the world – he very much achieved his common task.  He created harmony in his team by encouraging the friendship that evolved between Roelf Meyer and Cyril Ramaphosa who negotiated our constitution and met individual requirements by bringing polarised elements of society together.

Now is the time to remember him, now is the time to look at his leadership impact and legacy and now is the time to instil hope for all.

For more details on our ‘Leadership in Uncertain times’ Webinar taking place 28 July 2020 at 09:00 contact [email protected]

Gail has 30 years of experience as an executive coach and is the founder of The Image Excellence Group – a 27 year old coaching company in Johannesburg – one of South Africa’s foremost leadership coaching businesses with a proven track record of mentoring and developing leaders in commerce, industry, sport, politics and the public sector. Gail published her book Authentic African Leadership in November 2013. Gail says ‘We’ve dedicated ourselves to improving the quality of leadership in modern South Africa. As we’ve done so, it’s become apparent to us that one of the biggest challenges facing these leaders is how to create an impactful personal presence that is aligned with company culture that truly releases the potential of management and staff”

For more information contact My Pocket Coach or call them on (011) 781-1444