Our featured entrepreneurs and thought leaders shared some invaluable leadership advice in 2016. This is what they had to say about everything from the importance of ethical leadership and instilling a culture of openness and innovation to the importance of trusting your gut when making decisions.
ON PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP
Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions – “Taking the current political and financial environment into account, it is now more important than ever for leaders to go back to basics – instilling high ethical and moral standards into their leadership style and ensuring it underpins every aspect of the organisational culture.
Every small business is founded with a vision in mind, greater than merely delivering on the bottom line. Current and future leaders will need to have the strength of character to take remedial action for the greater good of the business” – Why business ethics and principled leadership matter now more than ever
ON LEADERSHIP AND INNOVATION
Nadir Khamissa, co-founder and CEO of the Hello Group – “We ensure that we embrace innovation at ever level of the organisation. We try to encourage people across the board to have a voice. It’s not just management and it’s not just product people who should be making decisions or recommendations on the product. We want ideas from the field, we want ideas from our sales guys, we want ideas from the contact centre. So a big part of that is our culture of openness, innovation and fun and meritocracy” – Talking the 6 levels of leadership with Nadir Khamissa
ON LEADING A TEAM
Polo Radebe, CEO of IDF Managers – “But I think as I have developed and evolved as a leader I have found that it is exceptionally important to involve the team. You hire people not because of the numbers, but you hire people because of what they can bring to the table and you need to fully exploit that. And five brains thinking about one issue always comes out with a better outcome than if it was just one brain. This way it’s also easier to get buy in, you don’t have to sell. Now I am much more consultative, but as a leader sometimes you have to make the call” – Polo Leteka Radebe on the importance of leading with vision
Nonkululeko Gobodo, CEO and head of leadership consulting of Nkululeko Leadership Consulting – “Leadership is all about providing a vision and a direction for the organisation and the ability to inspire people to go there with you. People are looking up to you and at every juncture in the organisation, or the growth of the organisation, you have to provide that leadership,” she adds – Talking authentic leadership in business with Nonkululeko Gobodo
Afua Osei, founder of She Leads Africa – “I really had to change my expectations, not lower them, but to really understand that we’re not going to have a company of people all like myself and my partner. It wouldn’t help us do well, it wouldn’t be good for diversity of ideas. But if we’re going to have people who have different backgrounds and expertise, we have to be willing to adjust the way that we work with them to generate business results for the company” – The face of young African leadership
ON TRUSTING YOUR LEADERSHIP INSTINCTS
Gideon Galloway, King Price founder and CEO – “I generally have a good gut feel and I’ve learnt to trust it extensively over the years. Sometimes even when something doesn’t make sense, if my gut feel is to go with it then I will normally trust it and it has always worked for me. But I always get input from the experts and people around me. If after the input my gut feel is still to go the other way, I will still probably go with it. But a lot of times I do change my mind. If three of my colleagues tell me they really feel a certain way I will go with them. In a team like King Price there are so many experts I seldom get into a situation where it’s a really tough call.
ON MAKING DECISIONS
Gideon Galloway, King Price founder and CEO – For me I guess, I like making decisions but I make them quickly. I think if you delay them too much it gets harder. Rather make the wrong decision quickly.” -, Trust your gut to make the right decision and make it quickly
ON CHOOSING YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE
Reggie Nxumalo, general manager of Philips Lighting Southern Africa – “One of them is what kind of leadership styles comes through or are required at a particular point. Sometimes you need to be task orientated to get a job done, other times you need to be people orientated – maybe the job is done but relationships need to be mended or people are in a certain space or frame of mind at the time, so it depends on the context to apply the appropriate leadership model, know when to be tough and when to be easy.” – Lessons entrepreneurs can learn from a corporate leader
Claire Reid, founder of Reel Gardening – “I have always been a leader who recognises the unique skill and passion that each person brings to the team and I work to enable them to give of themselves to the best of their ability and to grow within the team as a leader themselves. I do not believe in pushing or pulling people, I believe in holding their hand and walking on the journey with them until they are ready to let go and take someone else’s hand to guide them thus becoming a leader themselves” – What you can learn from how this millennial leads
ON THE DEFINITION OF A LEADER
Rick Ed, business advisor at DoBetter.Business – “There are people who respond to situations by taking action. They may see a road accident and stop to help. In business, as in life, we are faced with situations that require us to make a choice: do I act or do I leave it for someone else? As an entrepreneur, you take calculated risks and you act, you go for it. It takes courage, but that is part of what defines you as a leader” – You are a leader
ON LEADING FOR LONGEVITY
Vusi Thembekwayo, global business speaker, author, investor and serial entrepreneur – “[We need to create] a culture of delayed gratification, that says build it, but build it for the next 10 years, next 15 years, shape generations, send young people through to varsity, create innovative structures and platforms and processes that will allow ours to build a different continent, but whatever you do, delay your own gratification” – Lessons from one of the world’s leading business speaker