REAL Communication Consulting’s Desiray Viney ran a workshop entitled, ‘Must Haves’ for The New Age Executive at Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business this week.
Attended by managers and directors of business, industry and NGOs, it produced much discussion around the qualities, attributes, skills and actions of an effective manager or leader in this volatile, uncertain and fast-paced world.
Participants were asked to work through a given list of twelve (from leading writers) and to select and rank their own Six ‘Must Haves’ for Executives list. It culminated in this list:
- Have the courage and skills needed to lead an organisation in today’s environment – To build the confidence of your people to achieve the impossible: constant improvement, growth against a backdrop of extraordinary challenges and growing stakeholder expectations.
- Know that all people in your organisation are important – make the effort to be in their presence. Don’t be too far removed from those who matter most – within boundaries. People at the “bottom” are more informed and empowered than ever. Respect them. While they need your wisdom and direction, you should draw on their input in your decision-making.
- Ask the difficult questions and have the tough conversations on all levels of the organisation. Know the facts crucial to making wise decisions, and make a conscious decision that knowing the truth, being respected and doing what is right is most important, more so than being liked or avoiding conflict.
- Communicate purposefully! Don’t allow an information vacuum. Give feedback. Muzzle your voice, listen to what others think, and schedule face-to-face interactions.
- Know that values drive people’s behaviour, strive to create a values driven organisation. Remain true to your own values, which should match those of your organisation. Enable people to strive for excellence, and celebrate when they achieve. Have fun too.
- Have a Plan, acknowledging the speed of socio-political and economic change and how these interact and impact your business. The rate of change is very fast and it’s becoming more difficult to predict these forces in society, but you still need to strive to understand them.
Taki Anastasis, Sunshine Bakery’s chief executive, distinguished between the leader and the manager roles and explained how sometimes there’s a gap in their understanding of certain issues and how they communicate their understanding of values and instructions etc.
This workshop raised a number of issues in Business. Clearly, every business is unique and requires leadership appropriate to its operational environment. It also highlighted the need for more research on how local company bosses communicate and implement their vision, values and strategies. Information collected would provide the appropriate data and findings to advance leadership in South Africa.