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Zuma and Motlanthe – Trust and Respect Leadership Survey Results

In our Business Report column we recently drew a comparison between President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe as leaders. In this same article we emphasized, as we have on many other occasions, the importance of trust and respect in leadership.

It seems that there are far too many leaders in leadership positions that do not actually qualify to be there due to the low levels of trust and respect that their followers have for them. As Mark Cutifani, CEO AngloGold Ashanti said to us recently: “First point I want to make is that you are not a leader if you have not established trust. So we have lots of people in leadership positions, but they are not leaders. Leaders build trust. And if you asked how one builds an effective organization where people work together, it is when there is trust, which is the thing that binds.”

Leadership Platform feels passionately about the need for South Africans to take more control of their own destiny, firstly by realizing the importance of having leaders that they trust and respect, and then insisting on, or, where possible choosing leaders that have earned their trust and respect.

So we did a quick survey on our website to create awareness, in which we asked the following questions:

1) To what extent do you trust our country’s current general political leaders? 2) To what extent do you respect our country’s current general political leaders? 3) Rate President Zuma the same way on trust. 4) Rate President Zuma the same way on respect. 5) Rate Deputy President Motlanthe the same way on trust. 6) Rate Deputy President Motlanthe the same way on respect. 7) To what extent do you trust our country’s current business leaders? 8) To what extent do you respect our country’s current business leaders? 9) Please rate the CEO/MD of the business you work for the same way on trust. 10) Please rate the CEO/MD of the business you work for the same way on respect.

In each case respondents had to rate the question or statement on a scale of one to ten – one being most negative and ten being most positive.

We then established the average rating out of ten for each question or statement.

1)      To what extent do you trust our country’s current general political leaders?

         Answer: An average of 2.3 out of 10

2)      To what extent do you respect our country’s current general political leaders?

         Answer: An average of 2.4 out of 10

3)      Rate President Zuma the same way on trust?

         Answer: An average of 2.0 out of 10

4)      Rate President Zuma the same way on respect?

         Answer: An average of 2.1 out of 10

5)      Rate Deputy President Motlanthe the same way on trust?

         Answer: An average of 4.3 out of 10

6)      Rate Deputy President Motlanthe the same way on respect?

         Answer: An average of 5.1 out of 10

7)      To what extent do you trust our country’s current business leaders?

         Answer: An average of 5.3 out of 10

8)      To what extent do you respect our country’s current business leaders?

         Answer: An average of 4.6 out of 10

9)      Please rate the CEO/MD of the business you work for the same way on trust?

         Answer: An average of 6.2 out of 10

10)   Please rate the CEO/MD of the business you work for the same way on respect?

         Answer: An average of 6.5 out of 10

 

We also asked respondents to answer the following two questions: What is/are the first word/s that comes to mind when you think of our current political leadership?

Some comments were:

  • I think it’s the lowest level we’ve sunk to post-apartheid. I am worried about where the country will be in 5 year’s time if this leadership is maintained.
  • Wasted money, high crime rate, unemployment. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer!
  • Dismal: until dey undastand dat political appointment wnt make dis country’s economy grow
  • Failure. The current government has failed the majority of the people.
  • There is no leadership…it is rudderless

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of our current business leadership?

Some comments were:

  • Diligent!  Trying to cope with BEE, performance, interference, ‘demands’ and corruption can’t be easy.
  • I think they can play a more crucial role in shaping/guiding our country.
  • Driven, challenged by restrictive labour laws and practices
  • Puppets, but still better than political leaders.
  • Politically-involved or short-sighted
  • Greedy, hopeless, weak, pandering
  • Astute, hardworking, white, over paid

 

Motlanthe featured more positively than Zuma. Business leaders featured more positively than political leaders, though not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination. And, when the question got closer towards home, namely the respondents rating their own current leader, the results became even more positive. 

One may assume that rating a leader that is closer to home as opposed to a distant political leader will be different. In other words, it is realistic to expect that one’s immediate boss should rate on the higher end of the scale – in our view at least eight in both instances – and we find this out there. But it is not necessarily fair to expect Zuma and Motlanthe should be rated so high, because there are too many variables. Having said this, one wonders how former President Nelson Mandela would have featured in such a survey? One would also expect a much higher rating from the direct teams and full-time employees under Zuma and Motlanthe.

Nevertheless, the trend is concerning from a leadership and even cultural point of view. The results seem to indicate a shocking momentum that certainly needs more attention, and we are in dire need of a radical shift in mind-set as citizens of SA. We may feel it is a sad state of affairs to have leaders that possess such low levels of trust and respect by their followers, but in the case of the political leaders at least, and perhaps even business leaders, guess who placed them there? We did! We are to blame. We will get what we settle for!

Why do we settle for such a low standard on this front? Why is it accepted by so many that politicians cannot be trusted, for example? As a society we have to eradicate these low expectations from our psyche.

This article appeared in the:

BR

Do you recognize some areas in yourself or your team that need improvement? Email Adriaan on adriaan@leadershipplatform.com for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adriaan Groenewald

Adriaan, as an accomplished author and leadership advisor, has been interviewing and working with top leaders for more than 15 years. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Leadership Platform. (Twitter: @AdriaanG_LP)

Call: +27 (0)12 653 3022
Email: info@leadershipplatform.com

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Leadership Platform is a specialist leadership development consultancy, focusing on creating measurable impact to the bottom line through the enhancement of leadership understanding and engagement.

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