by Lindsay King

The power of inspiration

Editor's Note - April 2013

Lindsay King - Managing Editor
Lindsay King - Managing Editor.jpg
Two of the biggest leadership positions in the world have begun new cycles; Xi Jinping has been elected China’s new president and Argentine, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) has been elected as pope of the Catholic Church. These developments should bring new hope for the people of China and the Roman Catholic Church.
On local ground, two of our best known companies have also recently had a change of leadership: Richard rasher (previously from Tesco’s in the UK) has been appointed CEO of Pick n Pay, and Mark Cutifani is the new CEO of Anglo American. And our cover personality, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, has started a new political platform, Agang.
“As soon as you hit a challenge that’s when your life changes, you strengthen yourself and you move forward.” These are powerful words of inspiration from Business Woman of the Year, Margaret Hirsch, co-owner of Hirsch’s Appliance Stores. (p 32) Hirsch’s humble words reiterated two things which are vital in solid and sustainable leadership – the power of motivation and inspiration.
The world has seen many leaders come and go. Some left amazing legacies, others left destruction – while others simply left. According to media reports, both Jinping and Pope Francis are motivational and inspirational leaders – so is Ramphele. Every time a new leader takes over, it allows for new enthusiasm, innovations, ideas and a change of mindset.
Observing the politics, emotions and theatrics at play every time there’s a change in leadership, people react either with enthusiasm or strong resistance.
Our reaction to new leadership is based on the reputation of the outgoing leader – combined with expectations and hopes of improvement from the new one. Either way – the introduction of new leadership brings with it a weird mixture of uncertainty, combined with hope and excitement. 
As John Kotter, an expert on leadership and transformation said: “Motivation and inspiration energise people, not by pushing them in the right direction as control mechanisms do, but by satisfying basic human needs for achievement, a sense of belonging, recognition, self-esteem, a feeling of control over one’s life, and the ability to live up to one’s ideals”.
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