Sunday Tribune - - PROPERTY360 - BRENDA KALI

TH­ESE are murky times in South Africa and I say this with good rea­son. I have been sub­jected to an un­so­licited im­age on my phone of a porno­graphic ap­pendage of a min­is­ter who will re­main name­less.

Much has been said and writ­ten about the min­is­ter but the ques­tion that begs to be asked is why he has not re­signed. Is it sheer ar­ro­gance, bravado or im­pu­dence that mo­ti­vates him to fight rather than exit grace­fully. Nh­lanhla Nene had the con­scious­ness, courage and moral­ity to apol­o­gise and exit grace­fully. So what is the dif­fer­ence be­tween the cap­tured one in a proudly prone po­si­tion and Nene? It has to be a spe­cial kind of leader, who de­spite be­ing flawed has the moral mus­cle to do the right thing in the face of an abysmal er­ror in judge­ment. Against the back­drop of a cul­ture of dis­hon­est deal­ings, ram­pant cor­rup­tion and global cor­po­rate scan­dals and fraud that has taken us to the very edge, eth­i­cal, high-cal­i­bre lead­ers are in short sup­ply. If we are ever to see the sun rise on the much-touted myth­i­cal dawn, it is crit­i­cal for our lead­er­ship to ex­am­ine the con­se­quences of their ac­tions, not only on their fam­i­lies, but their coun­try­men.

It takes a spe­cial kind of leader to make the ef­fort to op­er­ate with care, com­pas­sion, tem­per­ance and courage to en­able a dif­fer­ent quality of be­ing in the so­cio-eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal space. We cre­ate such lead­ers by un­der­stand­ing that they are not born remarkable or ex­tra­or­di­nary, nei­ther are they per­fect. All they have done is learn the skills to man­age their own ex­is­tence, cog­nisant of their sur­round­ings to in­flu­ence, serve and bet­ter lives of those around them.

This brings me to an ex­tra­or­di­nary hu­man be­ing who was an ex­em­plar of con­scious­ness. A man, whose life was an in­spi­ra­tion to me, Booker T Wash­ing­ton. He was born into slav­ery and be­came free – bereft of any ed­u­ca­tion. Yet when he died in 1915, he had dined with world lead­ers and was the first black man in the US to re­ceive an hon­orary de­gree from Har­vard and a doc­tor­ate from Dart­mouth Col­lege.

Like Wash­ing­ton, when men and women, ca­pa­ble of great lead­er­ship ap­pear, they come to pos­sess an in­flu­ence com­men­su­rate with their greatness. They hold them­selves ac­count­able for their ac­tions and poor judge­ment and re­solve to turn things around. Nene did this, not so Gi­gaba or lead­ers of Bain, Stein­hoff, Mckin­sey and oth­ers of their ilk who have dis­played not an iota of con­scious lead­er­ship.

Brenda Kali is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Con­scious Com­pa­nies and founder of the Con­scious Lead­er­ship Academy

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