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Zero-rated access to key RBS sites

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Leadership in the times of COVID-19

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Building a new global understanding of African business

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How businesses can thrive in the New World Order

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How to keep making decisions in the throes of a crisis

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UCT GSB appoints new director

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3 CEO strategies to guide companies through crises

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Stop sleepwalking through life

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UCT GSB teaching case study wins top international award

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GIBS Executive MBA ranked in top 60 of QS ranking

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What USB is doing to ensure teaching and learning continues

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Values-based leadership in the age of COVID-19

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Workplace bullying and sick leave during COVID-19

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Maurice Radebe appointed as head of Wits Business School

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If there was ever a time for reflection it is now

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UCT GSB Executive MBA ranked in global top 50 ranking

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IMF loan goes wider than just helping to balance the budget

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What companies should do to manage employee well-being

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Will COVID-19 change the classroom?

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SA needs leaders with a desire to help others

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GIBS appoints Andile Sangqu as executive in residence

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Right-sizing: the dilemma for business under pressure

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What do we learn from pressure?

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How to spot when an employee is secretly struggling

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Wake up to the new workplace revolution

GIBS/TWIMS MBA Manufacturing Ambassador Scholarship
GIBS/TWIMS MBA Manufacturing Ambassador Scholarship

New MBA timetable starts in 2016
New MBA timetable starts in 2016




29 JUNE 2020
Leadership’s toughest test

by Nicola Kleyn: Dean of the University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).
In a post-pandemic world, leaders will face a number of critical tasks and processes. Some are likely to be completely new, while others achingly familiar. All will require profound thought and nimble execution. The world will have to learn new tricks on an unprecedented scale!

The human population of our world has been thrown into disarray. Despite the unknowns, what’s clear to me is that people, companies, nations and humanity are in for a major reboot. Amidst the rapidly evolving landscape that we must navigate, four observations about the leadership that we are going to need in a post-pandemic world have emerged.

Firstly, the world will need leaders who can think beyond borders. As I’ve devoured news about the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been struck by how many reports are focused at or within the country level. Whilst this is totally understandable when a crisis strikes, our reboot is going to require all of us to reframe our sphere of impact beyond a local or country level. The relentless march of this novel coronavirus has shown that our assumptions about risk management and how we can arbitrage across markets, states, countries and hemispheres are flawed. What some countries, corporations and constitutions see as externalities are our collective problems and opportunities. A systemic global viewpoint is not only the purview of the multinational, it’s essential for every leader.

My second insight concerns the nature of strong leadership. Although every leader or management scholar has a view on what constitutes effective leadership, the current pandemic has exposed both desirable and glaringly inadequate behaviours, particularly on the part of political leaders. At the time of writing, a comparison of leaders like President Ramaphosa and Chancellor Merkel who have received far more praise from a wide range of stakeholders relative to the likes of Prime Minister Johnson and President Trump has reinforced the importance of a number of principles. Although both effective and ineffective leaders have been visible to their constituents (with the bad typically practicing inappropriate social distancing), the more effective leaders have been perceived as far more decisive, consistent, humane and honest than their less competent counterparts. We’ve seen that good leadership doesn’t mean that leaders don’t change course when they are faced with evidence that suggests a different path might be more effective. They pivot rapidly but also explain why they are doing so and take people with them on the journey.

My third insight has been gleaned from my engagements with our wonderful GIBS community, particularly our faculty and support staff. Although the past few months may make the rapid rate of change that organisations have been experiencing over the last few years appear slow, navigating the COVID-19 crisis has underscored the role that relationship capital plays when times are tough and rapid change is needed. The multiple calls that we’ve all heard to embrace technology and build agile organisations are more relevant than ever, but I’ve learned first-hand that when people trust their leaders, it’s so much easier to make a change that will stick.

My last point relates to the role of the modern corporation. As with people, this crisis has shown up the best and the worst of business practice. On the positive side, it’s been remarkable to see companies innovate, improvise and adapt. The rapid response of a number of local South African companies to government’s request for assistance is firm evidence of how much we need business that makes a positive contribution to humanity today and in the future. At the same time, businesses worldwide are going to need to introspect about what it really means to be purposeful, to serve and to play their part in nurturing our fragile human race and the environment that sustains it.

The game has changed forever.
Source:

Gordon Institute of Business Science
Making an impact to significantly improve the competitive performance of individuals and organisation through business education to build our national competitiveness. GIBS is a leading business school in the heart of Sandton’s business hub, offering a wide range of executive and academic programmes. Visit our InfoCentre or website.

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