Perspectives on Leadership Development – Lessons from Life and Practice

Earlier this year TSiBA Education endeavoured to explore the state of leadership development in South Africa’s social sector. The overarching impetus was to explore two key questions: “Where will the next Mandelas, Tutus and Rampheles come from? And what do we know collectively, about helping to nurture them?” Prior to the official release of their publication based on this work in October, they share their thoughts on the process and major emerging themes here.

We would greatly appreciate your feedback, please comment below.


  • Frank Julie says:

    You are asking the WRONG question and will probably get the RIGHT answers to it. But it will be useless….We are past the stage of looking for big men and women to lead us. People need to learn to lead from where they are to eradicate this dangerous notion of waiting for leaders to lead. This type of thinking is outmoded.

    • Janet Jobson says:

      Hi Frank – you’re absolutely right, it is crucial to build leaders and leadership that is rooted in and works on the ground, where real transformation is critical. In fact that was a point raised time and time again by the various people interviewed: that leadership is not about the person at the top, but about how every individual can lead in their particular environment. Many of the organisations interviewed (TSiBA, IkamvaYouth, Life College, Enke: Make your Mark, Lucca Leadership etc) focus precisely on building the confidence and capacity of young people to take action in their communities from wherever they are – not simply to aspire to outdated hierarchical leadership positions.

      While leadership development needs to move beyond the obsession with powerful elites, there are many lessons that can be learned from individuals who have reached the top of their field. This book has attempted to seek out some of the less-known versions of their success stories: of Isaac Shongwe learning about entrepreneurship through selling apples outside a football stadium as a child, for example.

      I’m curious about what questions you would have asked? It would be wonderful if you could share them here to continue the learning.

  • Frank Julie says:

    Feel free to learn more about my views on leadership by reading my book “The Art of Leadership and Management on the Ground”. It is freely available at Also available on this site is a research thesis on leadership discontinuity and learning over 3 historical periods in SA. This thesis explored the underlying causes of the NGO crisis in SA. Thanks

    • Janet Jobson says:

      Hi Frank – thanks for the link to your book/website. Let’s keep this conversation going though – it’s useful learning for us, and other partners who access this forum. I’d be very interested to know what questions you think would better illuminate the challenge of leadership development for public innovation?

  • Frank Julie says:

    In my book James Taylor contributed a series of questions that you will find relevant to this discussion. Thanks

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