Leadership is an intriguing concept that comes from time immemorial. It has been subjected to countless researches and debates in different contexts ranging from religion, monarchies, politics, schools etc. One cross-cutting factor is that, its presence and absence have fascinating outcomes. There is substantive literature that indicated that tribes and nations fought tortuous and unending wars to prove their leadership acumen and strength. As some scholars/researchers would assert, the reason Africa is still lagging behind even five decades after independence, is by and large, due to inefficient or poor leadership.

Strong and effective leadership is therefore regarded as a necessary catalyst for the success and prosperity of both individuals and collectives. The buzzword is transformative leadership, which is an approach that causes change in individuals and structural set up that bind our societies. According to James MacGregor Burns (1978), transformational leadership is used mostly in organisational psychology. Burns (ibid) argues that transformational leadership is a process in which ‘leaders and followers help each other to advance to a higher level of morale and motivation’. As old as this argument, transformative leadership is very applicable in modern day societies and it is fitting for institutions and enterprises to deliberately invest in leadership if they aspire to be amongst the best in business.

However, it is not necessarily the practice to find substantive investment in leadership. This is also apparent in our Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs) which one might think could act as leadership training grounds as they host prospective future leaders. Arguably, universities could realise great returns for investing in student leadership development not only for preparation for future leadership roles but also to create undisruptive learning environment through co-governance.

In this model, students, through their democratically voted student leaders are involved in decision making. Of utmost importance is that students view themselves as problem solvers as opposed to fault finders. As some scholars juxtapose, ‘A good leader will take little credit but more of the blame’.

HRDC hosted the Student Leadership Training from the 25th - 26th September 2019 in Palapye. During this interaction with the Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs), HRDC realised that there is need for proper structured leadership training, coaching and mentorship. This is premised on the fact that leadership is best inculcated at formative stages of growth so that learners can grow with knowledge of what it entails to be a leader.

They also need to note that there is an increasingly challenging environment that needs leaders who can adapt and be able to ‘stir the ship off the storm’, should the need arise. Needless to say, leadership holds the answer not only to the success of individuals and organisations, but also to the global world.

It is against this background, that HRDC adopted a developmental route to capacitate the TEIs in Botswana with the hope that, they will ultimately embrace the concept of leadership for student community. The training amongst other things was meant to inculcate leadership skills to assist student leaders to discharge their duties effectively and focuses more on various aspects of transformative and progressive leadership such as negotiation skills, conflict management, effective communication, emotional intelligence, leading a vision and inspiring others as these are vital and relevant attributes for the 21st century leader. The outcome of this training in the medium to long term is to assist in moulding of young leaders who are able to sustain institutions that they lead and more importantly to lead amidst inherent leadership challenges.

For the second year running, under the theme ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders Begin Today’ HRDC partnered with the University of Botswana (UB) Faculty of Business, Department of Leadership and Management and has so far trained a total of 53 SRC leaders from 45 institutions comprising of private and public institutions. It is envisaged that the trainees together with their institutional management would cascade the training to other student leaders in their respective settings and more importantly strive for harmonious relationship through co-governance structures and therefore less uprisings in the Botswana Education & Training Institutions.

News Date: 
Thursday, September 26, 2019