Proactive and responsive leadership – A People Management & Organisational Perspective

Have you heard? The theme of our 61st IPM Annual Convention and Exhibition is “Proactive and responsive leadership.” We are excited to start the dialogue with you around this topic. In this blog, we are sharing a few leadership mindsets from business leaders in South Africa.

In a recent Moneyweb article, the question was asked:

How do you get ordinary people in your organisation, to produce extraordinary outcomes?

That is the key to creating movement and influencing people, according to Bonang Mohale, Shell South Africa’s Vice President Upstream & Chairman Downstream. Mohale, also deputy chairman of Business Leadership SA, and past presenter at IPM conferences, says that this is exactly what is required to be a leader of real consequence. His motto since childhood has been:


“I can do anything I want to.”

This motto speaks clearly to proactive leadership.


So does the more radical advice of Ran Neu-Ner, CEO of the Creative Council, South Africa’s largest advertising group, and recent winner of the EY Southern Africa World Entrepreneur Award. He says “Our mindset is to always question everything… we disrupt because we keep asking questions and we keep disrupting the status quo.” Their company encourages an environment of healthy, heated debate, of leadership by disruption, which is about ‘argue’ and challenge. Because when you argue, Neu-Ner says, you ask all the right questions. And those questions get you to disruptive answers, which assist with the VUCA world we face today, one marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. These disruptive answers may also stand us in better stead for the future, as we face what the World Economic Forum describes as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Analysts predict that it may be the most disruptive and transformative shift in human history, as impacts will be felt at individual, societal, business and government levels. We have written many blogs on this topic, see Have you geared up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Given Mkhari’s key message tells another proactive story. The founder and CEO of MSG Afrika Investment Holdings says “I continue to hire for energy.” His key message is that people who raise their hands, who are willing and ready, who are sponges and perpetual students, have influence and power because they can be relied on. “There are endless skills out there”, he says, “what we don’t have enough of is energetic, passionate, hungry and curious young people who are willing to take it to another level.”  These are the people you should hire, he says, and, we could say these are the signs of early, proactive leadership.

What is your view of proactive leadership? These examples are just scratching the surface. Give us your thoughts, and we’ll discuss this further in our next blog. Don’t miss it!

And don’t forget to book for the IPM 61st Annual Convention and Exhibition, taking place from 19 – 22 November this year at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg.


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