African Humanism as Compass
Foreword by Barney Mthombeni
First published by Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd in 2011
An attuned leader is an insightful person who stresses the importance of human relationships, empathising and identifying with the followership, winning their trust and producing results in line with the needs of the followers.
Leaders are not just born to the role. They are born, then made – and sometimes unmade by their own actions. A leader who is not attuned to his or her followers soon becomes a leader in limbo and invariably then fails. Connectedness, compassion, empathy, integrity, humility, reasonableness and a determination to be effective are the keys to attuned leadership. An attuned leader can step boldly into an uncertain future with the certainty that followers will lend their support.
In this richly reflective discussion of leadership and transformation, the author provides a guide to what constitutes ethical leadership in local and global contexts, for business, politics and government. In a world where tyrants abound in corporations and in states, Attuned Leadership provides a compass for the direction of ethical leadership.
Central to this perspective is that the philosophical traditions of Africa offer an important contribution to the theory and practice of leadership in the world today. African humanism or Ubuntu evokes both reason and empathy as the basis for ethical leadership. Ubuntu – articulated in the Nguni proverb “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu” – means that a person is a person because of other people. The author contends that the reciprocal relationship between the individual and the social collective stimulates caring and progressive thought and action. Nowhere is this more apt than in the relationship between leader and followers.
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