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Leadership Lessons with Major General Ntsiki Memela – Motumi

Major-General Ntsiki, has served with distinction in the military for over 3 decades.
Ntsiki was recruited into the ANC underground in 1979 and served as a courier between Swaziland and South Africa. In 1987 she was forced to leave the country to go into exile when their Commander Iggy Mathebula was captured by the Security Branch. Integrated into the SANDF in 1994 to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

She has been awarded the Southern Cross Medal which is awarded for outstanding service of the highest order and utmost devotion to duty. She has been awarded several medals for service excellence in our defense forces and has been instrumental in her research on transformation related to HIV, gender based violence, and the deployment of female soldiers in peace keeping missions. Ntsiki is the author of the Spear of Hope and publisher of several articles in professional journals including gender equity in the SANDF.

Top lessons from an inspirational leader:
Major-General Ntsiki wisdoms and lessons:

  • As leaders and commanders we need to realise that we can only achieve our goals through the support of our subordinates.
  • Your team should be equipped with the necessary skills and competencies to ensure that they can do their tasks to the best of their abilities.
  • As a leader you need to trust your subordinates enough to delegate some authority.
  • Don’t second guess your own instincts – trust in your knowledge and experience.
  • Speak up – your contributions can enhance the decisions.
  • In the execution of any task, understand that mistakes can happen.
  • As a leader it is important to show empathy and support.
  • Stay knowledgeable and up to date in your field. I find that my confidence is based on my skillset that I have acquired through formal education, training and other developmental courses.
  • Executive coaching for self-awareness builds confidence and resilience.

How can a leader stay motivated even in hard times?

  • Loving what you do will keep you positive and motivated.
  • Take inspiration from predecessors and leaders.
  • Perseverance.

What advice would you like to give the next generation of leaders?

  • Accept that we operate in a very fluid environment, therefore be open minded, flexible and adaptable.
  • Remember that you stand on the shoulders of giants – acknowledge and consolidate them.
  • Be knowledgeable.
  • As a women in leadership you do not have to sacrifice having a family – you just need to plan well – be a soldier and a mother.
  • Seek out coaches and mentors for guidance and support.
  • Participate in the fight against gender-based violence.

If you are passionate about your job, you know that you aren’t there for the sake of being there – you are there because you want to serve, influence and improve the lives of others.

It is my responsibility to lift other up as I rise higher.