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Give leadership a human face - Wendy Luhabe

Any notion of leadership should involve humanism, especially in these challenging times, when new leaders will emerge to lead a generation holding a far greater responsibility more than any other generation in the past. This is according to author, businesswoman and University of Johannesburg Chancellor Wendy Luhabe.
“We should give leadership a human face, particularly in the world we live in today where new leaders will change the game and say ‘we all matter even if we are different',” Luhabe, who published her first book Defining Moments in 2002, said.

Luhabe was speaking yesterday Wednesday, 22 July 2009, at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, where local and international delegates from all walks of life have gathered to hear what it takes to be a good leader.

“We should approach leadership in a different way and use it as a source to create innovation.

“This world needs multiple-intelligent leaders who can create a global entrepreneur movement capable of creating new industries and new job opportunities during these difficult economic times,” she said.

WMD… our major challenge

“But where are our business leaders when our politicians are failing us? Our major challenge is to overcome the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which I define here as apathy, fear, arrogance and ignorance, which have become the foundation of how we relate to the world.”

Luhabe's multiple portfolios include, among others, being a member of Club of Rome, Wiphold, International Marketing Council (IMC) International Institute for Management Development, chair of Vendome Distributors, chairperson of the International Development Corporation (IDC), and chair of IMD Alumni SA.

“As leaders, let's do simple things passionately and consistently and inspire people to achieve new ideas so that we can solve our own problems,” she said.

“We are caught in the tapestry of interdependence, where whenever one is affected we all feel the pain.”

According to Luhabe, a leader's journey shouldn't be a journey of mindless actions, but a journey mindful of empowering people to achieve greatness and take a centre stage in their respective organisations.

We need “clear vision” - Phosa

Furthermore, African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general Mathews Phosa called for a leadership which refers to a new focus, a clear vision and partnerships, whereby government is calling on business people, including international entities that have invested here, to help addressing complex issues of service delivery.

“We must have a clear vision to propel us where we want to go. Government can only be well-managed if it is managed by partnerships, but not cosy partnerships but founded on openness and willing to serve,” Phosa told delegates.

“We need each other, and we cannot look elsewhere to solve our problems. We cannot shrink in our duties, but work hard and most especially work together and eradicate laziness and corruption.

“We should use consensus as a way of moving to the future and build more trust into our communities. Transparency, high standards of ethics, accountability should be a point of departure.”

Phosa is a qualified lawyer, businessman and a former premier of Mpumalanga Province.

The Discovery Invest Leadership Summit combined the brainpower of opinion formers, government and policy makers, corporate executives and academics.

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About Issa Sikiti da Silva

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to as a senior news writer.