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Nthabiseng Magoma
 
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Influence is the paradigm for true leadership

07 February 2014, 19:00  - Nthabiseng Magoma

Leadership is the art of leading others to deliberately create a result that would not have happened otherwise, which makes leadership development the growing of art that brings about change and direction in taking a better journey.
In the words of Otto Schamer, “leadership development is not about filling a gap but about igniting a field of inspired connection and action”. Some may argue that leadership development is a tricky subject to tackle, whereas some would say that is not necessarily reflective of the gospel truth.
The public perception of young people in South Africa mainly labels and marginalises them to at worst root cause of social uphill and because of that they are immaturely disqualified worthy of being groomed, society tends to down play the supremacy of affording others a chance to grow and become leaders simply because most of us carry a mixture of emotions and feelings around leadership. The energy possessed by this youth can be of great use with the right directions.
No leadership is without a vision, and vision immediately informs that there is a future; moreover, the youth is known to be tomorrow’s leaders.  What then comes to mind is whether or not today’s youth is leadership material. My take is that when you looking at the leadership we have in our country it then becomes effortless to become a cynic.
We cannot shy away from the fact that it is rather a “norm” that leadership in this country is for the elderly, I cannot help but wonder if this is as a result of the excuses we hide behind or because of the lack of opportunities this applies both in the corporate and political arena.
Little effort is made in developing leaders in this country, for instance the one day leader show that was broadcast on SABC 1, was a little drop in the ocean but a little goes a long way. What that programme achieved is that it managed to inspire a lot of young people and help them to claim their roles as leaders in their different capacities, but the question remains is enough being done?
Leadership development does not only mean being a Congress Of South African Students (COSAS) member when you are at a high school level, then a South African Student Congress (SASCO) member at tertiary, then an African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) member to graduate to an African National Congress (ANC )member.
Yes taking these steps can mean you are developing in some way, only if you are not just doing it because it appears to be a way of life. Let us not forget that the opportunities presented by NGO’s such as the NYDA, or Education Ambassadors SA have positive impact in our country both socially and economically. Just to touch on them, NYDA has produced young successful entrepreneurs such as Jack Mziwamadoda to mention but one, consecutively Education Ambassadors SA, has helped various students and graduates with bursaries to study further and internship programmes to gain relevant working experience.  
We can all impact on others. Power of a prominent position to lead positive change is not a pre-requisite, what is needed is influence, which is of course the most potent resource on this earth. There are just many different ways to assist people in becoming tomorrow’s leaders; this can be done through education, as well as innovation.
As a country, we have to step back and assess if enough is being done to build future presidents, CEO’s and as an individual ask yourself what are you doing to be a person of influence, a positive influence that is. If we are to embrace the development of leadership then we must fully grapple what leadership is and is not and recognise that influence is now the new paradigms for true leadership, take it from there and grow as a leader.

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