5 Valuable Leadership Lessons from Zuma

by Anil Salick on April 5, 2017

When a group of people lack leadership – they are normally or merely just that: “a group” – individuals together,  without purpose, vision, direction or cohesion.

Today, under the rule of Pres. Jacob Zuma – South Africa feels like that: “a group” – individuals and factions with different agendas. Not “a team” or a nation – united, purposeful, goal oriented, productive and with pride. Even “team ANC” within is exposes itself as “a group” of individuals, dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Below are 5 valuable leadership lessons from Zuma and the current political situation in South Africa:

  1. Leadership is not a title or a right. Leadership is influence. It is earned and must be maintained through living by example and consistency. (Consider the number of times that Zuma or his allies have to remind South Africans that he was constitutionally elected within his party, and for the presidency – that he may not have asked for it, but that he is a legitimate leader. Why would a respected leader have to depend or remind about his legitimacy?) 
  2. Leadership provides direction and which influences the conduct of management (urgency and values). The role of managers is to execute and deliver on expectation or promise. Without consistent and respected leadership, managers are likely to compromise shared values, ethics and morals in their dealings in their aim for self gain or preservation. (Consider the wasteful expenditure, corruption, greed, self gain, aggrandizement, lavishness, lies, dishonesty, double standards, allying to get what one wants. This at the expense of tax payers money – and by the majority that puts them into power. Consider when once previously respected “freedom fighters/ comrades/ stalwarts” are silent on issues because “their salaries/ jobs/ status quo are dependent on them not thinking about it”) 
  3. The role of leaders should be the development of its people. Educate people, overcome ignorance, develop critical thinkers, accommodate opinions, problem solving and ideas, empower people, foster independence and interdependence, and increase satisfaction. (Education remains the key driver to changing our country. Skills, development, mindsets, attitudes, empowerment should be priority in investment. Poor maths and science results, the standard of our education, the lowering or compromises of standards are not going to make South Africa competitive globally or solve our social ills and challenges. The promises of #FreeEducation and #FeesMustFall still beset our country. Unfortunately with such a high unemployment rate and a small percent of the population paying taxes – so much in this area needs to be done)
  4. You are only as powerful to the extent you listen to your people and customers. They can make you or break you. What are their concerns? Have you prioritised these as issues that might affect your aims and strategy? Small things make a big difference. (For almost 10 years, majority of South Africans have had concerns around the leadership of Jacob Zuma. His 700 plus criminal charges all conveniently put aside, his rape allegation charges/ #RememberKhwezi, Mbeki ousted by the NEC and preparing the way for his ascendance, his R250 million plus #Nkandla residence, failure of economy, #Guptagate, #Watergate #CabinetReshuffle #junkstatus etc… #SaveSouthAfrica and #ANCStalwarts speak – but Zuma either does not listen or care to respond using his conscience)
  5. It’s never too late to change. Whenever people find themselves in difficult situations, they can either “act, or be acted upon“. In other words, you make decisions or others will make them for you. Leadership is ultimately about the ability to make sound and bold decisions. (It will not surprise me that in days, weeks and a few months of writing this – Zuma will either resign, be recalled or given a #VoteofNoConfidence. He could still salvage some admiration in acknowledging that he has failed, and in the interests of the country he will step down. But, what shall happen to him then? Is his safety, security, further charges, financial gains guaranteed? It takes courage to do the right thing)

Jacob Zuma is not stupid. Nor is Julius Malema. These men didn’t arise to their ranks based on many a critic’s knee-jerk insults or shock observations made about them. They had the ability to influence. They generated a following. They increased their power base. They created a function of dependence. Lack of critical thinking and education amidst a mass gives fertility to the rise of sensationalism and popularism. Yes, even with Trump and America (never doubt the ability of the masses to buy hogwash). These men are masters of manipulation. Manipulating others, leveraging environments, surviving, adapting and forging ahead.

Nations are changed because of leadership. Governments, societies and businesses are changed because of leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: