On Thursday, 20 November 2014, Corporate and Human Resources Cluster in partnership with the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) hosted their quarterly Management Seminar. The focus of this Seminar was Situational Leadership. According to the Deputy Head of Human Resources Department, Ms Pam Matthias, the purpose of these quarterly seminars is to ensure we have a platform to be able to interact as leaders and future leaders.

Providing his account of Situational Leadership was well known and esteemed guest speaker Mr Clive Ramathibela-Smith, of Inkunzi Investments. According to Mr Ramathibela-Smith, as young people and old we need a change in focus in thinking. Change in leadership is getting people to think alike and changing past behaviours. Mr Ramathibela-Smith went on to further add that true leaders are defined by the way they think and apply their mind. He used the analogy of the late playwright William Shakespeare. According to Mr Ramathibela-Smith, a leader is someone who, like Shakespeare, thinks out of the box. Mr Ramathibela-Smith emphasised that what is incredible about African leadership is where it started; i.e. poverty. He used the illustration of the speech the former president Nelson Mandela delivered at the Rivonia Trial. “Something sparks a change in your inner thinking and that’s where change begins”, said Mr Ramathibela-Smith. Mr Ramathibela-Smith asked all present a burning question: How we do we change our line of thinking now? He further emphasised that change is always scary because you have to make a choice. Mr Ramathibela-Smith left with us with inspirational and yet provoking last words when he said leadership is about assessing what we have done to be where we are right now.

During the second half of the Seminar, the City Manager Mr Sibusiso Sithole provided his account of Situational Leadership. The City Manager emphasised that we should all aspire to be at level 5 leadership. “Just as we all aspire to have the highest degree of maturity we should also aspire to be good leaders”, he said. The City Manager went on to state that we have to strive for respect because we have enabled ourselves to build teams and to influence and be influenced. The City Manager highlighted that good leadership means being a leader that is imbued with humility. Leadership, according to the City Manager means being transformative in outlook, portraying intellectual development in terms of where the organisation is going and displaying an ethical basis of how leadership should be practiced. Furthermore good leadership is having the ability to be able to understand that there is so much to be learnt, it is the ability to synthesis the information you get. The City Manager stated that being a good leader does not only include resolving a problem, it requires one understanding the causes of a particular problem in order to make a fully informed decision.

In keeping with the theme of Situational Leadership and making changes to benefit the entire organisation, the City Manager and the Head of the Skills Development Unit, Dr Mpilo Ngubane announced the transformation of the Skills Development Unit (SDU) into the eThekwini Municipal Academy (EMA). This establishment comprises the integration and centralisation of the old SDU and all training centres within the Municipality to the new Unit EMA. The objectives of EMA is to breed a centralised, integrated and client centric Unit. A further aim is to expand the learning footprint and to be recognised as a centre of knowledge management. Also in attendance was Provincial Executive Officer (PEO) of SALGA-KZN Mr Sabelo Gwala.

The City Manager concluded by robustly emphasising that we live in times that are changing and as leaders we need to be changing.