Accountable Supervision

Leadership values are not only confined to the running of a political campaign, party or country for that matter, however, like in any venture that has an objective and deals with human beings – it forms the backbone of a successful any business.

Consequently, what leaders such as CEO of Tesla Elon Musk, for example, say or does, have a positive or, in the recent unfortunate case, a negative impact on the shareholdings of his business.

The share price can decline sharply and worse yet, it can lead to the exit of senior staff members and thus undermining the business, its leadership values and objectives.

This why it is critical for companies to adopt the right practices and responsible leadership to enable them to address both internal and external issues affecting them.

This is even most relevant when dealing with a company that has a multinational operational facet such as the Murray and Roberts Group – a South African company that operates in a global setting.

This specific multinational company was used in a case study for a research paper because it is firmly entrenched in the construction and engineering industry.

More specifically, they service the global natural resources market sectors of underground mining; Oil & Gas; Power & Energy.

Such a diverse set of operations requires a varied set of objectives spearheaded by a solid leadership path.

New model of leadership

We have covered the topic of Emotional Intelligence before. It now surfaces again within a brand-new leadership model known as the ARCHES model.

The name derives from a key characteristic of the physical structure of an arch and its durability. Coupled with its diversity in models and materials and its depiction as symbols of triumph, it represents an apt analogy of what responsible and effective leadership should be.

The model was especially derived by an academic* for a syndicate group assignment and is based on six key characteristics that should be imparted in a leader.

An effective and responsible leader is one who is attuned to their followers, responsive, possesses the necessary competencies, serves with humility, is ethical and adopts a sustainable approach to leadership.

A leader who possesses all these attributes is one who can rise above adversity and lead their followers in a way that promotes innovation, motivates, develops skills, promotes personal growth and encourages improved performance – B.Moyo

Application of the model

The model defines attuned leadership as the act of being self-aware, informed and  aware of the environment in which you exist – servant leadership.

Employees should be encouraged to take responsibility for their actions because responsibility and effectiveness are complimentary. The demise of US energy company Enron, for example, was due to a failure of management to execute communication-based responsibility, internally and externally.

ARCHES

A volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment in which a business operates can result in many potential projects not coming to fruition.

In such an environment, leaders that are attuned, responsive and possess the right competencies can expert power as their way to influence followers to exhibit the same traits.

Referent power develops out of admiration of another and a desire to be like them. Expert power on the other hand, is a person’s ability to influence others’ behaviour because of recognized knowledge, skills, or abilities.

This requires the leader to have a tolerable level of humility. This is defined as a personal quality reflecting the willingness to understand the self (identities, strengths, and limitations). That combined with a purpose in the self’s relationship with others.

Once again, the emphasis on Emotional Intelligence coupled with traditional leadership competencies is needed to steer multifaceted companies.

Even more so when dealing with diverse cultures and work ethics across borders and continents.

Direct consequences

Being the largest employer in the locality directly implied that Murray and Roberts had to be consistent with the idiomatic Zulu expression of “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”. This means: I am because you are, you are because we are.

Good leadership in the Ubuntu philosophy is based on the engagement with communities and defines a well-led organization.

Not paying attention to ethical issues surrounding a community or the environment can have an adverse effect on your values. This would also affect your staff and the image of the company you steer.

A bitter consequence of the failure of ethics was evident in the $4.2m (64.1 million ZAR) fine to the said company. This was for its involvement in sector collusion related to construction projects for the 2010 World Cup.

Finally, a practical leader will also consider any upcoming projects with the lens of understanding the environment that surrounds them to incorporate the concept of sustainability.

These traits might sound like they need to be learned but most should be already ingrained or come naturally to you or your leaders.

If not this is not the case, you need to quickly install the right personnel with such to help steer your business enterprise or economy for that matter, to success.
*This blog post contains excerpts and is derived from a master’s research paper. It was conducted by Bonnie Moyo for the Rhodes University Business School.

Sustainability – the greatest farce?

We exist not to exist. Now, what does that really mean? Well, in simple terms, it means we are born to die. As grim as this unwanted reality sounds, it is the basis of why people do what they do and behave the way they do.

Some live to enjoy that short moment and blissfully hope it doesn’t come sooner than later. Others strive and prepare for that day with the hope they make an impact and leave a lasting impression.

That lasting impression, in turn, can be for good or bad reasons – often confused by the individual.

Martyrs and suicide committers, for example, tend to feel that their unpleasant actions are doing a great cause to society.

Though their loved ones would beg to differ, it is the individual who decides whether that impact they leave behind is a good or terrible one.

The irrational human mind

One thing one learned in earlier days as undergraduates studying economics was that as individuals, we are mostly self-consumed and irrational.

Some refer to it as being emotional – but all irrational traits to what ideal? After all, that is what separates us from machines and robots!

Living for the present is an inherent human attribute that is hard to change or condition.

We have so quickly moved on to adopt artificial intelligence without mastering our own level of intellect and compassion.

We are certainly not advocating for a utopian state where everyone gets to the level of Albert Einstein. Emotional intelligence, however, unlike the more numerically rigid intelligence quotient, is inherent but can be honed or learned if one is willing.

The problem with its adoption is that it takes effort – something not everyone is enthusiastic about like math, chemistry or gym class in high school.

One must ponder why significantly less than 10 percent of the world owns all the riches. Meanwhile, we currently still must deal with world hunger, disease, and abject poverty.

You must revisit the above notion of emotional intelligence.

This is because one of its inherent traits is compassion – something most of those individuals don’t have or consciously try to avoid. Though this should be one of the obvious attributes that separate us from so-called beasts. Animals only have instincts to help with their decision-making processes, we still struggle to use it.

Sociopaths, psychopaths, dictators, and oppressors are not far from beasts. They lack the compassion that would even amaze the most ruthless animal predator if they had the consciousness to see what was going on in our world. These people also lack what we basically have mythologically termed – a soul.

A greater role to play

This piece is however not to criticize or state the obvious about such people but to try to explain why they behave as they do.

Psychologists and sociologists alike perhaps need to revisit their curricula and amend it to focus more on this very important but often ignored concept.

This should be added in both subject areas but must begin the analysis from the grassroots level – from childhood.

The stigma of seeing a psychologist (clinical, child or industrial) would first need to be eradicated somehow for this to happen.

These professions play a much larger role in shaping the world that we live in – a lot more than they may realize.

It is when we learn to be compassionate and more emotionally conscious, that the concept of sustainability, conservation of any resource for future generations becomes a reality.