Managing and Leading The LEKGOTLA Way!

Managing and Leading The LEKGOTLA Way!

Definition: Managing and Leading The Lekgotla Way! The African Methodology! That is how I would like to define this topic. The Lekgotla is the African methodology for creating an environment favourable to active thinking, dialogue, engagement, learning, development, and resolving conflicts. It is therefore an appropriate management and leadership practice as well.

The LEKGOTLA in Session

Teaching the young ones: In the African culture there is a conviction that everybody has the responsibility to make sure that they do not die and leave this world with their knowledge, experience, without transferring it to the young ones. That is very similar to what is expected of the managers and leaders in our organisations, in government, and other important structures of our society.

The discomfort of failing to handover: your conscious will just guide you to do the right thing, namely, preparing those who come after you, share all the knowledge, the history, and insights. This often takes place in the Lekgotla context, and the appropriate sitting. I will come back to this point in later posts. Being a member of your community, clan and family you feel duty bound to transfer what you inherited from the parents, forefathers, and what your life has taught you to the young ones. We are all haunted in advance, while we are still strong and active, by the fear of possibly failing in this role and blamed to have departed with the knowledge that the young generation is rightfully entitled to. Hence the saying in Sepedi (my home language): “Rutang bana ditaola le seye le tsona badimong”. Literally translated it is an instruction to all of us to to teach the young ones all what we know before we depart from this world, i.e. before we die. Ditaola refers to the traditional indigenous diagnostic knowledge that is often transferred from one generation to the other in the family. It is often associated with the instruments used by the African medicine men or women to relay the spiritual visions, accompanied by the healing abilities. All these are seen as gift from the ancestors.

The Mini-Lekgotla (Break-Away) in Session

However this principle of mentoring the young ones is not only associated with the healing powers. It relates to every aspect of our lives. For example, Africans would spend time at night around the fire and tell the stories. Some would be fairy tales but in most cases they would be telling the true stories. They would share their lineage with the young ones, tell them how they were brought up, who they originally are, and even teach them their praise songs. As mentioned this would be in a Lekgotla setting even though the conversations may not necessarily be formal. The general Lekgotla principles which I will cover in the future posts, would still apply, e.g. listening attentively, not interrupting the person speaking, not dominating the space, etc. These are good management and leadership practices that I find anchored in this Africa philosophy and methodology. It is for this reason that at COMETSA we have integrated Lekgotla with our many practices. More about that in later posts.

Mini-Lekgotla (Break-Away) in Session

The natural gift: There is no school that teaches the Lekgotla principles. It is the way of being that children are born into, grow with, age with it, and leave it behind for the generation that comes after them. This practice and belief goes deeper to affect the transfer of the traditional healing powers from one generation to the other. You will often hear that a certain elder who has past on years ago has identified someone out of the homestead to inherit his or her healing powers that he or she left with. This is not about whether one believes in this practice or not. It is a practice that is spiritual and is subject to so many interpretations. What I am interested in is the principle and believe that no one should die and go away with the knowledge. It is believed that the knowledge that you had was transferred to you by those that you found here on earth when you were born. Therefore you are also duty-bound to replicate that by also transferring that knowledge to the generation after you. If we apply to this the modern times the same applies to the managers and leaders that are leading our structures. However this is not happening the way, in my view, it should be happening as a result of many reasons, amongst others, selfishness, disinterest, competition, lack of awareness, etc.

Main-Lekgotla (Plenary) in Session

Conscious Decision: It should therefore be a conscious decision by everyone to make sure that they leave their legacy behind. Failure to do that is believed that will bring misery to those who are anointed to inherit our knowledge.

The African concept: The Lekgotla practice happens in the context of deep African respect and conviction that the right things must be done. In case of misunderstanding and conflicts our believe is the philosophy and lineage tend to resolve our deep-seated emotional conflicts. The facilitation of such conflicts is based on the Lekgotla African philosophy of management and leadership. I will expand on this philosophy in future editions of the series.

Collaborative and Servant Leadership Practices: The Lekgotla concept and philosophy promote the collaborative and servant leadership practices. There is no contestation for the roles of management and leadership. In the traditional African settings the leader (the King or Queen) will always be the leader and his or her headsmen and/or -women the managers of the affairs of the nation. What is fundamental here is that this is a collaborative and servant leadership. He or she leads the nation in he interest of everybody. In other words the king or queen is the custodian of the kingdom not the owner. This clarity that comes with these beliefs and principles makes for the progressiveness in the leadership of the nation.

Main Lekgotla (plenary): Dr Dumi Magadlela engaging with participants

The leader’s approach: The king or queen and his/her herdsmen or -women use the Lekgotla methodology and practice in leading their people. What is fascinating is that this practice is embedded in the African culture. All the future leaders who inherit the kingdom from the king or queen know that this is the way things have always been and will remain, with some adjustments of course as the society evolves. There should not be any conflict as a result of the times, i.e. the olden days and the now. It is our responsibility as the facilitators of change to ensure that this practice is retained but made relevant to today’s circumstances. For example, in the past only men would attend the formal Lekgotla gatherings. Today women participate in the Lekgotla. Hence at COMETSA all our Lekgotla sessions are attended by both men and women. Our Lekgotla facilitation manuals have been informed by other related facilitation methodologies like World Cafe, Time To Think (by Nancy Kline), Brainstorming, etc.

Facilitation rather than dominance: The focus of the leader (king or queen) in the application of the methodology in managing and leading consultative meetings, etc. is on the facilitation of the conversation rather than dominance and instructing. This is possible because there is no confusion as to who is in charge.

Keeping order: The leader’s (king or queen) main role, over and above facilitating the conversations, is to keep order in the consultative meetings or overall leadership of the nation.

The participants at the Lekgotla

Inclusivity: It is in the leader’s interest that everybody is listened to and their inputs are taken into account in the decision making. Even those inputs that are not considered are acknowledged. The inclusion of everybody is the primary objective, not only in the consultative meetings but in the overall management of the affairs of the community (the kingdom, village) and leadership of his/her subjects. Everybody must be listened to, heard, understood, and acknowledged.

Decision-making and collective responsibility: So, decision making is the outcome of a long process of consultation. If there is a deadlock and conflict ensued when making a ruling and taking decisions, the leader (king or queen) adjudicates. His or her word becomes final. This is not a disregard of the differences but exercising of the responsibility. In management and leadership we must be able to recognise when the situation or matter under consideration is not going to lead total consensus. The leader’s role is to take the deliberations to the point of making decision. Once the decision is made a good team owns such decisions, and they are bound by them. The leader continues to facilitate the next steps that follow the decision-making. The compliance and abiding by the collective decisions are guaranteed because after all everybody has been consulted and was heard.

The youth participating in Mini-Lekgotla (Breakaway) session

The application at COMETSA: We have adopted the Lekgotla methodology in our management and leadership development interventions such as learning and development, coaching, mentoring, facilitation, advisory, workshops, conferencing, seminars, networking, etc.

Lekgotla training: In 2017 COMETSA launched a full year COMETSA PMS The LEKGOTLA Way Learning & Development Methodology Programme, with monthly face to face development workshops on Saturdays. We focused on introducing the philosophy and methodology to our members and stakeholders, training them on the actual facilitation of a Lekgotla session, and how to use it in a real life situation where one is facilitating a session with clients. This was the best investment in the development of people we have ever made in our 25 years journey to date. Today we continue applying Lekgotla methodology to all our interventions, including at our clients. Every member of COMETSA is given the opportunity to experience a Lekgotla session by COMETSA. Most of those who attended this training intervention are now the business associates of COMETSA.

The Main-Lekgotla (plenary) set-up

Our way of being: The application of the LEKGOTLA Methodology to all our human capital, management and leadership development interventions is now our way of being as we have the expertise among ourselves. We were so inducted into the monthly Lekgotla sessions at COMETSA that when COVID-19 pandemic brought confusion to so many business of many organisations we had to adjust quickly. We staged our monthly Lekgotla sessions online via Zoom platform. So, we never stopped learning the Lekgotla way.

The COMETSA Online Store: We have gone further and developed the COMETSA Online store to enable access to our offerings digitally. The online store can be accessed at https://cometsa-online.myshopify.com/ is loaded with our service offerings influenced by our LEKGOTLA philosophy and methodology. It will be an experience for anyone reading this article to source such services and experience the quality of our delivery The Lekgotla Way! These offerings are grouped into the following categories: Advisory Services, Professional Coaching, Professional Conferences, Human Capital Consulting, Development Agencies Management, Professional Facilitators, The Lekgotla Way Networks, Holistic Mentorship Programmes, Professional Moderators, Professional Presenters, Retained Human Capital Programmes, Professional Seminars, Professional Speakers, Sport Management, Professional Workshops, Lekgotla L&D Methodology Certification, and Holistic Human Capital Development Tours. Our members who have undergone the Lekgotla training and acquired the status of business association with COMETSA GoC International (Pty) Ltd are delivering these solutions under our organisation on their own invoice.

The LEKGOTLA Context

Facilitation of the Strategic Interventions: We are making impact at our clients by using our Lekgotla Methodology in the facilitation of the strategic interventions like Strategy Development & Planning; Diversity Management, Inclusion & Belonging; Skills Development Program; Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Program; Employment Equity Program; Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE); Socio-economic Development Program; and Entrepreneurship Development Program.

Boardroom application: The Lekgotla methodology is easily adaptable to the Board of Directors meetings facilitation. Obviously the members of the board will have to be first inducted into the philosophy and the methodology, and even trained for them to reap the maximum benefit from it.

Lifestyle Walk/Hiking – The Lekgotla Way! This year, 2022, is our 25th Anniversary year at COMETSA. We have introduced a monthly series called Lifestyle Walk/Hiking – The Lekgotla Way! Each month is dedicated to a particular theme of our PMS LEKGOTLA Networks but instead of assembling our participants (members and guests) in a conference room or online platforms, we meet outdoors at Modderfontein Nature Reserve, https://modderfonteinreserve.co.za , for the walk/hiking. It is during the walk/hiking that the participants engage in the chosen topic, The Lekgotla Way! That’s the special way in which we are celebrating our 25 years journey. COMETSA was established on the 1st August 1997 in Johannesburg as a development sport organisation, soccer in particular. Today we are a fully-fledged human capital, management and leadership development organisation. This has always been our goal since our establishment. We are about holistic human development.

Lifestyle Walk/Hiking – The LEKGOTLA Way!

From dependency, independency, to interdependency: We have always highlighted to our members, non-members, and overall stakeholders that the ultimate state that all human-beings attain is interdependence. We are social beings and therefore like to belong and be appreciated. We are intentional about this. When we are born we become dependent. As young adults we are naive and think that we can live independently from one another. But then life quickly teaches us the truth that we need each other. As we strive for success in our personal, professional and business (entrepreneurship) life we experience and enjoy the beauty of belonging and benefiting from our interdependency.

Membership at COMETSA: We want our members, friends, supporters, partners, associates, and clients experience and enjoy the quality of life that is associated with belonging to COMETSA as either an individual or corporate members. Apply for membership online at https://cometsaclub.africa and become part of our next twenty five years and beyond.

Services need: For any of our services visit our online store contact visit our website or write to us.

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