Pascalina Sello



Nataysha Reddy


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How do you know if you’re a courageous leader?

Over the past few years, I have been engaging with leaders at a very senior level to help them rise above their personal and professional agendas to greatness. It’s been a most enlightening experience.

Many of the perceptions I had of senior leaders have been blown out of the water. For instance, whereas I once thought that they were generally a courageous bunch, I found that this was not the case. While we were discussing greatness, they were all on fire, agreeing with everything and creating the impression that they were ready to start on their journey to greatness.

They would talk a big game but, when it came to the time for action – actually doing something about it – I would get what I call the “old school friend response” …

You know that old school friend you bump into many years after leaving school (the one you didn’t particularly like)? They say to you, “We must really get together for a drink some time.”

And you say, “Absolutely! We must.” But you have no intention of ever getting together with them and that’s as far as things go.

It was the “old school friend” response I would get from senior leaders. They would say, “Yes, this is great, this is the right thing to do. I want to do this.” But that was as far as things would go and, from there on out, they were very quiet.

That’s simply because they were actually not courageous people and felt they had too much to lose. Now that’s not a criticism of them. Not everybody is courageous. But some people THINK they’re courageous, yet they’re not. defines “courageous” as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

One could expand this definition to include facing unpopularity, criticism and so forth. An important point to note is that courage is not only a quality of mind or spirit. It’s also about action – facing difficulty and other unpleasant things.

So, how do you know when you – or anyone else, for that matter – is courageous?

The answer lies not in what they think or say but in what they do. Courageous people often don’t talk big. They simply act big. And THAT is what determines who is courageous and who is not.

Why is courage so important in leaders? Leaders who are not prepared to take action against people who are causing hurt or damage, who are not prepared to take action against corrupt and/or deceitful employees, who are not prepared to take a moral stand against immoral decisions and/or behaviour (I’m not referring to immorality in sexual terms), are simply not courageous.

Courageous leaders will stand up for right and for the greater good even though it may make them unpopular. Courageous leaders will not flinch in the face of criticism by people who disapprove of their actions when those actions don’t suit the critics.

Courageous leaders will root out corruption and will not turn a blind eye to dishonesty and deceit. They will demonstrate compassion and care for the vulnerable and will act on behalf of those who cannot act for themselves.

That’s why courageous leaders will win the love and respect of those they lead because they will act with no bias or favouritism. They will act in the interests of all.

How courageous a leader are you? Do you talk a big game but, when it comes to action, keep very quiet? Or, do you do the right thing when it needs to be done?

Our country and our world need courageous leaders. Will you hear the call of destiny to be a courageous leader? Courage requires great strength of character. Only you know if you have that strength!

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine,, @HRFuturemag, and assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery.

Farirayi Chibgwe



How to save your first CV from the recycle bin

You spent hours crafting your first CV, showcasing your school years, qualifications and experience, but employers don’t even give it nine seconds of attention before moving on to the next one.

Although the job market is tough even for people who have years of experience, it is particularly challenging for young graduates applying for entry-level positions, and first-time CV writers must put in extra effort to develop a stand-out CV.

Research by the UK’s youth programme, National Citizen Service, found that applications for junior positions have skyrocketed, increasing pressure on employers who have to wade through hundreds of CVs. In South Africa, the competition for entry-level positions is even fiercer, and the need for your CV to facilitate a foot in the door can’t be stressed enough.

You are at a tremendous disadvantage if your CV is poorly written and does not sell you effectively, and it is almost certain that you won’t be invited to an interview if that is the case.

The best route for graduates is to approach their public university or private higher education institution’s career centre for assistance in writing their first CV, to ensure it ticks all the boxes before being dispatched to the HR manager’s inbox. In addition to ensuring that one’s qualifications and experience match the technical criteria of an advertised position, first-time jobseekers should:

• Craft an industry-specific CV

An application for a position in finance will look very different to an application for a position in advertising. As always, Google is your friend. Do an image search for CV examples in your industry, and demonstrate that you are in touch with the culture and approach to business in your chosen sector.

• Showcase not only competence, but also character

Demonstrate that the employer can trust you and that you are a perfect fit for the position. Show, don’t tell. Raise relevant examples from you student or school career to prove your value in addition to providing qualifications details.

• Keep it short and to the point

Less is certainly not more. Give yourself nine seconds to scan your CV. Do your main selling points jump out at you? Is it clear from a first glance that you are suitably qualified for the position? Gone are the days when CVs stretched over numerous pages with personal details filling the first two. In 2017, the very first page (and there should be no more than two), has to give an employer a solid, positive overview of who you are and what you have achieved.

• Focus on facts and figures

When demonstrating your experience, don’t just speak in general terms. Use facts and figures to prove what you have done. For instance, if you gained work experience or interned during your student years (which ideally you should have done), don’t just say “Worked for Company Y” or “Was involved in Project X”. Instead, say: “Company Y: Production coordinator on R5 million project with responsibility for a, b and c”.
All CVs, regardless of whether they are from first-time jobseekers or experienced professionals, should demonstrate that the applicant understands the position and business of the prospective employer, which means generic CVs are out of the question.

Each CV must be tailored to the position being applied for. While this does take time and effort, a generic CV will not take you anywhere. Looking for work should be treated as work in itself, so make the investment.

Another way to highlight oneself as a candidate, is to demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.

Show that you are proficient in the latest software required in the position you are applying for. Don’t just list your existing qualifications, but also indicate if you are enrolled in any short courses or programmes to expand your skills.

And finally, a short, well-crafted cover or introductory letter should round off the application.

This is an opportunity to let the hiring manager get to know you – so make sure the letter is concise but contains personality, and make extra sure that there are no spelling and grammatical errors.

Wonga Ntshinga is the Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education.

Managing yourself in the workplace

Managing yourself in the workplace has become more critical than ever before, as the workplace is constantly changing it brings about unexpected or unwelcome ambiguity as well as a complex working environment.

However, develop the ability to engage in a powerful rather than powerless way is to develop the ability to manage yourself. This means managing both your emotions as well as the practical situations you experience.

Changes in the environment: in society, the economy, politics and technology mean that we will be faced with unexpected or unwelcome ambiguity and complexity in the workplace where we may believe that outcomes are out of our immediate control. Equally, changes in the nature of work and in organisational structures have had a major impact on working roles and relationships. All these factors can lead to increased stress levels, lower tolerance of differences and conflicts between individuals, colleagues, teams or managers and subordinates.

To begin to engage in a powerful rather than powerless way is to develop the ability to manage yourself. This means managing both your emotions as well as the practical situations you experience. At the heart of Daniel Golemans EQ model is self-awareness and self-management. Therefore, a good self-leadership skill to acquire is to manage ourselves. Those that master this will have the opportunity to become the leaders of tomorrow and it is one way of creating a more meaningful and positive work experience today for yourself and others.  

Managing yourself means learning how to work with others in a productive and profitable way. We cannot control the behaviour of others but we can control our own. So what exactly does “managing yourself” imply; there are countless terms for self-management, however it is basically about ensuring your personal wellbeing across a range of experiences and situations in all aspects of your personal and working life.

Professor of Psychology Carol D. Ryff in 1989 already identified that psychological wellbeing encompassed six core dimensions:

1. Self-acceptance – An individual has a positive attitude towards themselves accepting both good and bad qualities.
2. Personal Growth – A feeling of continuous development and open to new experiences.
3. Purpose in Life – Having a sense of direction with aims and objectives for living.
4. Positive relations with others – having warm and trusting relationships with others as well as being concerned about the welfare of others.
5. Environmental mastery – the ability to choose and create suitable environments.
6. Autonomy – Have independence and self-determination.

To do this one must learn to maintain a good understanding of the changing organisational context and how their roles fits into it. Develop an idea of their role that is clear and closely linked to action. Manage the transitions between different roles and contexts, and exercise self-control (rather than looking to their line managers to impose control) understand themselves and their triggers and develop the ability to manage them appropriately.

It is up to you to keep yourself engaged and productive during your career. In Managing Oneself, Peter Drucker explains that the keys to doing this are: cultivating a deep understanding of yourself by identifying your most valuable strengths and most dangerous weaknesses; articulating how you learn and work with others and what your most deeply held values are; and describing the type of work environment where you can make the greatest contribution. Only when you operate with a combination of your strengths and self-knowledge can you achieve true and lasting excellence.

Coaching attempts to help individuals understand how their cognitive and emotional reactions interfere with their self-efficacy. Business coaching is more specific to the workplace in that it focusses on the present and future instead of the past and assists individuals and teams to identify their strengths, learn from past experience and leverage each opportunity.

Of importance is an openness to feedback which identifies the areas where intellectual arrogance causes disabling ignorance. Far too many people and especially people with a high level of knowledge in one specific area or high IQ are contemptuous of knowledge in other areas or believe that being “bright” is all that matters. Feedback can overcome intellectual arrogance and assist one to work on acquiring the skills and knowledge and attitude needed to make one’s strengths fully productive. Research shows that plans fail because of the lack of follow through or quite simply that brilliant work fails again and again as soon as it requires cooperation by others which may indicate a lack of people skills or well developed EQ. Manners are the “lubricating oil” of any organisation and can go a long way towards avoiding conflict.

Organisations are no longer built on power and force, Increasingly, they are built on trust, collaboration and relationships. Taking responsibility for one’s work relationships is therefore an absolute necessity. One owes relationship responsibility to everyone with whom one works, on whose work one depends and to those who, in turn, depend on one’s own work.  

Today, the great majority of people need work with others each contributing different elements to achieve the final outcome. It is a good idea to explore your values, strengths and ways of working early on with colleagues.

It’s up to you to carve out your place in the world and know when to change course. Being self-aware, accountable for yourself, open to being transformed and simply recognising when you have outrun your abilities can go a long way towards helping you to manage yourself in the workplace and avoiding conflict by doing so.

Susi Astengo is the Managing Director of CoachMatching.

Top things people want from their office space

A recent survey of office workers across South Africa has revealed the top five things people want from their office space.

The survey was carried out late last year and queried just over 3000 office workers on what mattered to them most in the workplace.

Unsurprisingly 42% said more natural light was the the most important element.

It so simple but often design gets so caught up in the fancier things, people forget the importance of sunlight to humans’ sense of well-being.

This is especially true in the workplace, where traditionally there has been a focus on issues of layout and safety – important factors, but not the only elements affecting happiness at work.

Second on the list was ‘quiet working spaces’ at 22% and in third ‘was a view of the sea’ at 20%.

Increasingly we are installing quiet zones for our big clients. People need to escape from what is often a noisy and disruptive environment to really get work done.

A typical office work switches activities about every three minutes and half of these switches were caused by interruptions. Interrupted work is usually resumed however it takes workers about 20 minutes to get back to what they were doing.

Views of the sea were a nice to have but not practical for inland cities. We have found however that placing large pictures of peaceful natural places like forests, mountains or the sea does create a calming atmosphere in the office.

Rounding out the list was ‘live indoor plants’ at 18% and ‘bright colours’ at 15%.

The recent trend to create clinical uncluttered offices doesn’t make people more productive or help them concentrate better.

A green office signals to employees that their employer cares about their well-being.

Adding live plants will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.

Another factor that made offices better places to work was the right use of colour.

Bland colours induce feelings of sadness and depression while grey and white can also contribute to feelings of gloom and anxiety.

Scientific studies have shown that colours don’t just change our moods, they also profoundly impact productivity.

That’s why it’s best to decorate your workplace with a vibrant mix of stimulating hues that increase output and spark creativity.

Linda Trim is the Director at Giant Leap.

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