Attuned Leadership 

Attuned leadership: African Humanism As Compass

The attuned leader is an insightful person who stresses the importance of human relationships, empathising and identifying with the followership, winning their trust and producing results in line with the needs of the followers.

Leaders are not just born to the role. They are born, then made – and sometimes unmade by their own actions. A leader who is not attuned to his or her followers soon becomes a leader in limbo and invariably then fails. Connectedness, compassion, empathy, integrity, humility, reasonableness and a determination to be effective are the keys to attuned leadership. An attuned leader can step boldly into an uncertain future with the certainty that followers will lend their support.

In this richly reflective discussion of leadership and transformation the author provides a guide to what constitutes ethical leadership in local and global contexts, for business, politics and government. In a world where tyrants abound in corporations and in states, Attuned Leadership provides a compass for the direction of ethical leadership.

Central to this perspective is that the philosophical traditions of Africa offer an important contribution to the theory
and practice of leadership in the world today. African humanism or Ubuntu, evokes both reason and empathy as the basis for ethical leadership. Ubuntu – articulated in the Zulu proverb umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu – means that a person is a person because of other people. The author contends that the reciprocal relationship between the
individual and the social collective stimulates caring and progressive thought and action. Nowhere is this more apt
than in the relationship between leader and followers.


After reading Attuned Leadership you will realise why Khoza is so sought after in boardrooms and why he is
president of the Institute of Directors, writes Evan Pickworth.

I spoke to Reuel Khoza just over a year ago when Tom Boardman retired as Nedbank's chief. There couldn't have
been a better man to speak to about leadership, Khoza being chairperson of that bank, but also an expert on
leadership himself, having been closely involved in the formulation of the King Codes and a key voice in many boardrooms across the country. He also faced up to significant management challenges along the way, having
tried to get Eskom back on track a few years back.

Boardman had managed to turn the bank around after a tough period in the mid-2000s and Khoza acknowledged
that, but I had no doubt Khoza himself had played a huge role behind the scenes. This is evident now as Nedbank is
leading the charge as far as it's corporate and sustainable leadership goes.

After reading Attuned Leadership you will realise why Khoza is so sought after in boardrooms and why he is
president of the Institute of Directors.

But that is only part of the story - this book takes aim at Africa's own failings at leadership, but impressively looks
to harness African humanism, as humanness, as the key to solving the riddle.

Clearly, the solution is staring us all squarely in the face and it needed someone with his mind finely tuned to the
true African and human condition and philosophy to point it out lucidly. He has the experience to do so, that is
clear, but also the fortitude to point out why it has failed and what needs to be done.

But take it a step further - the entire globe is facing a significant crisis of leadership and this book offers a very
enticing solution to the entire economic and social malaise, including for the environment.

It took me a little while to get into it, but once you reach the three quarter mark the insights to real world events
flow so thick and fast you simply can't put it down. The experience is going to light a bulb for all readers, not just
leaders, I have no doubt.

(Review by Evan Pickworth , Business Live Book Review - 18 November 2011)

Video Clips and interviews


Jenny Crwys-Williams interviewed Dr Reuel Khoza, the author of Attuned Leadership: African Humanism as Compass. In the following podcast, Khoza discusses what constitutes ethical leadership – in terms of business, politics and government. > more

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