Taking the lead
When Nazir Alli resigned as the CEO of Sanral, critics questioned his ability to lead, although acknowledging his undoubted management record. He was known to be dictatorial and even aggressive sometimes and that angered many. Wayne Duvenage, chairman of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance said that Alli’s leadership style was detrimental to the agency’s ability to do what it should have done properly. And while management is vital for any organisation, if you fail to lead, you will become irrelevant to your organisation.
One can only think of something that Jim Collins once wrote to support this point: It clearly shows that leadership is much less about what you do, and much more about who you are. If you view leadership as a bag of manipulative tricks or charismatic behaviours to advance your own personal interest, then people have every right to be cynical. But, if your leadership flows first and foremost from inner character and integrity of ambition, then you can justly ask people to lend themselves to your organisation and its mission.
In this issue we asked some of our country’s most admired leaders about the way they lead. Something everyone noted was that leaders have a big responsibility towards the people they lead. It’s like Harry Truman said – a great leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they
don’t want to do and like it. Alli appears not to have that ability, but luckily for us, we have great leaders we can look up to and learn from, like Nelson Mandela who taught Maria Ramos that power is not something you use, it’s something you’re a custodian of.
This is my first issue as editor of Accountancy SA and I hope that the content will inspire you to develop, influence and lead – through the practice of management – to deliver extraordinary results and to make a distinctive impact in the lives of the people you lead and the company you manage.