Leadership in the African Context

Topics: Leadership, South Africa, Africa Pages: 10 (2589 words) Published: May 12, 2011

I. IntroductionPage 2

II. Introduction to the “chapter of the book”Page 3-5

III. Chapter one – Effective business leadership for South Africa in 2010 and beyond Page 6

IV. Is there effective leadership in South Africa today?Page 7

V. Challenges facing South African Leadership todayPage 8

VI. A call for ethical leadershipPage 9

VII. On the other hand: Business leadershipPage 10

VIII. Could early leadership development of future leaders be the solution for effective Page 11

leadership in South Africa beyond 2011?

IX. ConclusionPage 12

X. ReferencesPage 13


Introduction to the “Chapter of the book”
What is leadership?
The study on leadership defines it as the process of influencing, motivating, supporting, facilitating, and encouraging employees in pursuit of organisational goals through the means put together by all members of the business. (Drouillard & Grobler, Kleiner, 1996, p. 31) To unpack the definition a bit further, leadership can be defined as a method of giving meaning to the activities people perform, support them and provide guidance and direction. It is a process of articulating an idea that entails the right values and attitudes. Some people view leadership as sequence of specific traits or characteristics. Others perceive it as comprised of certain skills and knowledge. Research on leadership has evolved as theories have been developed and advanced by successive generations of researchers. Something constructive has been learned at each stage of development. See figure below the significant milestones in the evolution of leadership theories:


Behavioural Styles theory
Transformational Theory





Situational Theory
Trait Theory

Figure 1: Evolution of leadership Theories
The original approaches to the study of leadership required to identify a set of traits that distinguished leaders from non leaders. The research focused on what the personality characteristics, physical and psychological attributes of people who are viewed as leaders were. By 1940, researchers concluded that the search for leadership-defining traits was ineffective. In recent years, though, after advances in personality literature such as the development of the Big Five personality framework (see table below), researchers have had more success in identifying traits that predict leadership.

Figure 2: The most widely accepted Big Five personality Model Most importantly, charismatic leadership which is amongst the modern-day approaches to leadership may be viewed as an example of trait approach. Other trait theories associated to a person’s emerging as a leader within a group, include the general mental ability, which psychologists refer to as “G” and which is often called I.Q. in everyday language. In particular, people who have high mental abilities are more likely to be viewed as leaders in their surroundings. In my opinion though intellect is a positive but modest predictor of leadership. Additional to high IQ, efficient leaders tend to have high emotional intelligence (EQ). Individuals with high EQ demonstrate a high level of self-awareness, inspiration, compassion and social skills. Personally I do not think this particular trait theory is applied or has ever been applied when choosing or appointing many of our South African leaders. One would argue that intellect when appointing these leaders is the bottom item on the agenda if not absent. What differentiates effective leaders from ineffective ones is their ability to control their own emotions and empathize with other people’s emotions, their internal inspiration, and social skills. (Daniel Goldman) During the course of World War II, the study of leadership took on a major new twist. Rather than focusing on the personal qualities of successful leaders, researchers turned...
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