It is interesting to note how the concept of leadership is usually associated with the idea of a person commanding a group of people, dictating them regarding their future course of action. While a leader is expected to lead a group of followers, people often tend to overlook the importance of the vision of the leader, in leading a group of people to a better world. The most effective leaders have always been found to possess a clear, distinct and specific vision, which he seeks to materialize, not for fulfilling his selfish motives, but for ensuring the overall well-being of the community at large. A leader does not merely work towards a goal, but is essentially guided by a powerful vision, that he does not envision alone, but actively engage the followers in doing so, and creates a sense of direction and purpose. Just like any other leader, Kali Charles Thaanyane born amidst uncertainty and poverty, transforms his own life as well as the lives of his communities with the help of his single minded dedication towards the vision of crating community well-being in South Africa (Pierce, 2004).
The presence of a vision helps a leader gain a sense of direction in life, towards which he can organize his efforts, and thus the vision motivates the leader, and helps him to strive to put efforts in a single direction. Born in an impoverished family, Kali was born at a time, when the winds of change and uncertainty started sweeping over Africa, and being a newly formed nation Lesotho, was deprived of any kind of valuable resource, let alone the employment opportunities. In such a situation, Kali envisioned that to improve the financial condition of his family, along with bringing a change in the national economy of the country. With soil erosion being a major problem, most of the food items of the food items of Lesotho was imported from abroad, while the manufacturing sector and the tourist sector was too small to attract much investment (Fransen et al., 2015). The young ones had to work hard for their families, bringing water or wood from remote areas, and that in turn affected their education. However, Kali envisioned a world where hard work, perseverance and education could transform the lives of the impoverished people. His vision revolved around the idea of transforming Lesotho inhabitants as objects of self-pity and sympathy, to hard-working, persevering, focused group of people, who could break the cycle of material poverty. He believed in the idea of creating a selfish and impartial world where each African man would be able to gain access fair opportunities to better their lives, provided they were willing to work hard. Kali was governed by a fair sense of responsibility, and thus his vision was to improve his life while also changing the future of Lesotho (Chappuis et al., 2015).
Kali’s vision was quite a unique one, and hence he required to implement a variety o changes in his society. First of all, he fought for the worker’s rights to equality, and was even being terminated while working in a mine. However, Kali was well-aware that a community or an individual staying in the community could not accomplish success, unless each member was to be involved. He knew he would require offering training and employment opportunities to the less fortunate people of Lesotho, and engaging women in powerful positions, so as to motivate the women to rise higher than challenges. He had to open a training institution, engage his mother in managerial position in his business to create an inclusive society. Kali intended to change the mindset of the people, and hence he could not be content after attaining success in his personal business ventures. He was one of the very few business leaders, who tried to improve the well-being of the community, and thus opened, up his own business school, to offer marketing expertise and computer skills to the uneducated and untrained youths of Lesotho. He was well-aware that his organization could be successful, and his countrymen could prosper, only if the employees could be engaged and motivated effectively. Hence, he involved his employees by making them partners and shareholders in his own business. Thus, Kali ended up changing the perception of people, as people started working more confidently and harmoniously than before that ensure overall development of the nation and the community.
A leader usually demonstrates a variety of values that inspire his followers to live in compliance with the leader’s values and ideals (Moaward & Jones, 2015). Among all the values preset in Kali, his belief in fairness transparency and integrity deserve special mention, Kali was well-aware that in order to ensure individual success, the overall well-being of the community is needed, and hence he offered equal opportunities to all the people of his country in terms of education, training and employment . Kali believed in perseverance, and his faith in hard work and utmost dedication, helped him fight the odds. He also believed in the importance of the proactive nature of mankind, whereby one should keep on working, rather than getting intimidated by the odds, and waiting for the opportunities (Finkelman 2015). Kali believed in caring for, loving and respecting people of different caste, community or sex, and hence created equal opportunities for them.
For implementing the change, Kali was well-aware that he not only required bringing about improvement in the financial life of his own family, but also needed to improve the economy of the nation. The only thing that he required to do, is to engage people more actively, and offer each one equal opportunity to succeed in life . Hence, he appointed his mother in managerial position in business, trained the unemployed youths through his own business school, and motivated the people to invest in a free enterprise economy (Carter et al., 2013). He knew that although each man had to work proactively, without coordinating with the other members, it was impossible (Venus et al., 2013). He engaged the employees and made them the shareholders so that they could be well-motivated and empowered to bring about further improvement in the socio-economic position.
Kali challenged the skills and expertise of the people, asking women or untrained people assume responsibilities in the business organizations, after successful completion of the training courses. He motivated the young ones to pursue their dreams, and opened up South African business networks that offered training and employment opportunities to the underprivileged ones.
To conclude, it should be remembered that perseverance, a sense of responsibility, shared vision and integrity were some of the important qualities in Kali that helped him assume the role of a leader successfully. However, what is even more important is that just like an ideal leader, Kali was never driven by personal, selfish interests and motives, but by the overall well-being of the community he was living in. A sense of responsibility towards the well-being of the community was always there in his mind, as he was aware that success can be achieved in a sustainable, inclusive environment only. His effective leadership is not merely defined in terms of his personal accomplishment and material success, but also in the light of the indispensably important role he played in promoting harmony, unity and material well-being in his community. Kali not only succeeded himself though hard work in life, but also emerged to be an effective leader, by working selflessly for promoting the benefits and rights and creating opportunities among all the residents of his community.
Carter, M. Z., Armenakis, A. A., Feild, H. S., & Mossholder, K. W. (2013). Transformational leadership, relationship quality, and employee performance during continuous incremental organizational change. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34(7), 942-958.
Chappuis, S., Commodore, C., & Stiggins, R. (2016). Balanced Assessment Systems: Leadership, Quality, and the Role of Classroom Assessment. Corwin Press.
Finkelman, A. (2015). Leadership and management for nurses: Core competencies for quality care. Pearson.
Fransen, K., Van Puyenbroeck, S., Loughead, T. M., Vanbeselaere, N., De Cuyper, B., Vande Broek, G., & Boen, F. (2015). The art of athlete leadership: Identifying high-quality athlete leadership at the individual and team level through social network analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 37(3), 274-290.
Moawad, R., & Jones, S. (2015). Who Is an Effective Leader?-Ways of Measuring Leadership Effectiveness. Effective Executive, 18(4), 11.
Pierce, S. (2004). Bridging the Social Divide: A Grounded View of Partnership-Building in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and North America.
Venus, M., Stam, D., & Van Knippenberg, D. (2013). Leader emotion as a catalyst of effective leader communication of visions, value-laden messages, and goals. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 122(1), 53-68.
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