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5 values in Value based leadership

Dr Terrence Kommal value based leadership

Dr Terrence Kommal value based leadership

Many believe that the existing versions of value-based leadership are to some extent cast in stone, and need to be very religiously adhered to.

I have a different perspective and value-based leadership, and in fact most times I always have a different perspective, on these pre-established notions laid out by some people. Some may think it arrogant, but I strongly believe that with the current world that we live in and its dynamic environments and circumstances, leadership and other frameworks are in a constant state of evolution, to some extent a state of flux. Of course, flux seen in the positive light, and other times, in a neutral light.


Value of people

I believe the first and primary value that needs to be acknowledged in value-based leadership, is the value for the people on your team. In other words, seeing your own team is value in itself. This simply because they can be no leadership without the people on your team, there can be no value to be created without people to deliver it. Some institutions believe creating value is for “the organization,” but in actual fact the organisation itself is constituted of people. Yes, on paper an organisation independently exists, but it is it’s people that actually gives life and purpose to the organization.


Value of skills

The next value is the value of the skills of your team. There can only be an opportunity to lead, once you are aware of what your team is able to do and what opportunities exist to enhance, direct and grow the skills as a collective within your team. Leadership is also acknowledging your own limitations, whilst also acknowledging the unique individual skills of each team member. This acknowledgement should not be mere lip service or academic exercise it should extend beyond and it should be about directly engaging with each individual about what he/she able to do and how it can add value to themselves and the team as a whole.


Value of emotions

Another critical value to acknowledge in leadership is the value of emotions. Many believe emotions that are not kept in control can be dangerous. I agree, and yet also respectfully, disagree. Emotions that are correctly directed and channeled can be very useful to individual and collective growth. Emotions can also be potent reasons people and teams to act decisively in times of need, and that does not require the emotions to be in check or controlled. Let’s also face the simple truth, that everyone on the team is still human, and the matter how skilled an individual is, their emotions direct much of how they act, think and function. Therefore, valuing the emotions of each individual, at least also by acknowledging them, a true leader can begin to understand how each individual functions and manage to work with those emotions of that individual for the collective growth of the team.


Value of family

The next value that I believe is critical, is valuing family. Many leadership styles that mention family don’t fully acknowledge the value that family can create and the value of family itself. Besides emotions most individuals, me included, always puts family first. There are of course, people who function for themselves first, before family, but I would like to believe that they are in the minority. But by and large, if a leader acknowledges the value and influence that the family can exert on the individual, he is able to create value for both the individual and the organization. In other words, if the leading begins to try and understand exactly what drives the individual and what is important to him in his home environment, and within the dynamics of his home environment, he will be able to first understand the individual better, and know what motivates him. That understanding, can assist the leader in working together, rather than against the individual on the team, to create value and growth.


Value of empowerment

The final value in this short list of five, is empowerment. To create true value one needs to be able to empower each individual, and the team as a whole, so that it can function to truly create value for itself, and for others. Some leaders believe that sending people on training courses alone, is empowerment. Although the training courses are one aspect of empowerment it is not the complete empowerment that is required to create value. True empowerment is giving the individuals and team the latitude to be creative enough and even innovative enough to find solutions to the problems identified, and to the problems yet unidentified. Some of course we question ‘how can you solve something unidentified?’ Actually it is rather simple concept in my view, the problems remain unidentified in most times only because people don’t have the latitude to explore what they believe may be the root causes of the current problems at hand. Some people refer to it as “root cause analysis,” and those along the Harvard stream of thinking refer to it as “The decision tree.” Therefore empowerment, is not about control but liberty, and acknowledging that the liberty and latitude itself is the empowerment needed for collective growth.


These above five mentioned, are on no way complete list, but merely a few more perspectives on what value-based leadership needs to include. Many experts in the field have already included these in their key ingredients of leadership, in some form or the other, but this is merely my perspective, in a nutshell.





Dr Terrence Kommal at a dinner with the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Dr Terrence Kommal and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan

This private dinner was held on 07 June 2014 at India House, Pretoria, by His Excellency Mr Virendra Gupta, High Commissioner of India and his wife Veenu Gupta.

Honoured to have been only one of two South African couples invited to the prestigious evening! The Chief Minister was amazingly humble and warm on the freezing evening! :-)

Exchanging a few words with Ajay Gupta again as usual was a a great pleasure. I last chatted to him in 2007, when I had no idea who he was! He remains a very simple person who honoured all the elders at the dinner with greetings showing pranams (hands together as in prayer) to each! Public perceptions as usual are misleading.

Transformation Policy training by Harvard School of Public Health


Dr Terrence Kommal together with Emeritis Prof Marc J Roberts and Prof Tom Bossert who are global leaders from Harvard School of Public Health

The Washington Fellowship by US President Obama has created Hope for African Youth


On a usual evening as I had been half watching tv and browsing some medical blogs, I noticed an advertisement on a DSTV Indian Bouquet for the Washington Fellowship/Young African Leaders Initiative by President Obama and administrated by IREX. At first I wasn’t sure what the ad was about as I was half watching. But then later that evening, during the prime time news on another channel, the full ad was shown again. My father who had been watching the same news raved that I must apply.

This initiative by the US President is a very heart warming one. With a full sponsorship by the US government and the willingness to invest in Africa and it’s youth is very encouraging

Of course, in between a busy work schedule I had to secure time to read up a bit more about the opportunity and the requirements. Essentially, a good African citizen, who believed that they can provide leadership in Africa in the sectors of Public Management, Civic services and business and entrepreneurship; between the ages of 25-35 years;and willing to travel to the US if selected. I was excited as the opportunity would allow the successful candidates to study in special programmes in the US as well as become a part of a continent wide alumni network, who can then further provide leadership and mentorship to others.

It took me four days to prepare my application and secure recent letters of support and submit it within five hours of the applications closing on 27 January 2014. The tedious process of being able to summaries the profile requirements and then submit the 3 x 250 word essays, were challenging and enriching.

After submission, I began checking up on the other related applicants who had made known in the likes of Facebook and twitter that they had indeed applied. It is amazing what a mix of applicants there are and their each unique varied backgrounds.

Now the applicants patiently await the feedback within the next two month from their respective embassies.

Live your values… #Madiba


“……It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”- Nelson Mandela.

I strongly believe that many love His words and ideals, but how many of you are able to full accept that commitment demands being able to give your life of the ideal?
I KNOW I AM!..are You?

Finding your niche NOW!

Dr. Terrence Kommal

Dr. Terrence Kommal

When your sit in a lecture by people telling you to find your calling outside of your current “career”, yet they remain in theirs…the discussion becomes interesting.

I HAVE found my niche, I AM where I SHOULD be, and this is where I am best in my element!!

No, I’m not DEFINED by my professional training, but have expanded into where I make community work meet passion, and believe with SUCH dedication and focus, the UNIVERSE is CONSPIRING with ME!!

It’s NOT a “SECRET” anymore, have faith, work hard and pray hard, the universe will align with what you BELIEVE!

The results of my WORK can be seen and felt, and it drives our team on!

Find YOUR calling and HAVE faith!

You are exactly where you want to be by you OWN choices!

-Stay blessed!!!!

The “Medupi Plan” Executive Leadership case study is ludicrous

Medupi plan case study failure

I am currently sitting in a lecture by Dr Caren Scheepers (a Psychology PhD), based on the successes of the “Medupi Plan and the Medupi Way”. She is keen to drive the ‘pockets of success’ that the Medupi project had based on a video that she had developed with staff of the JV at Medupi and Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). Of course, the video was developed whilst she was (and still is) a consultant on the project, and suddenly, I feel a biased to the project.

The ASELPH is a JV between University of Fort Hare, University of Pretoria, and Harvard School of Public Health, together withe National Department of Health of South Africa.

She was shocked when many of the fellows (ASELPH students) raised concerns, including by me, that her case study is based on a majorly failed project. Failed, in the sense that the project has exceeded its budget by 300% from R56 billion, to now projected R 160 billion, and the project is already long past its delivery date. It has also been plagued by strikes and failures that the political parties have called for fines and criminal charges to be leveled.

We were then instructed to deliberate on the “Empowering broad based action”. I then sought clarity on why the video demonstrated that all the JV contractors leadership are still of the fairer demographic and the image shown of people of colour are all the ‘labourers’. I also sought clarity where the skills transfer and the Broad Based black empowerment was to fit into the realism of the South African context. Dr Scheepers was quick to justly that empowerment was more than just people of colour, it was also “about ‘procurement’, and other matters”.

Excuse me?? I am not sure, and with me being a well read consultant on empowerment and labour matters, if Dr Scheepers has grasped the fact that government is driving home the fact that skills transfer is more than training the bricklayers. It is also about effective skills transfer and management capacity of to people of colour to correct the past imbalances.

I am also trying to understand why the Inkosi Chief Albert Luthuli Academic Hospital, in KZN or the Universitas Complex in the Free State, were not used as relevant case studies in an “Executive Leadership programme in Health“. There maybe lessons to be learnt, in spite of the major failures and financial implications to the nation for the Medupi project, but a relevant Health case study would be more vital and relevant to Executive Health Leaders.

In a group of 99% black Exective Leaders in Health, with the intention to build capacity, I feel insulted that a consultant in a project that is now seen as a major national problem with huge and long term financial implications, feels it is the most relevant to Health.

I have consulted with a Professor in Public Health who is also a part of the esteemed Faculty, who shares similar concerns about relevance and applicability.




Meta-leadership and emotional intelligence by Harvard School of Public Health


Meta-leadership is very unique and intense model and framework of understanding leadership in large scale.

It was founded and developed by Dr. Leonard J. Marcus and Dr. Barry Dorn of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Much of the key differentiating factor of the framework and learning directly under Dr Barry Dorn, is the immense experience and passion he brings to understanding meta-leadership.

There is a great feeling being a part of a Fellowship of esteemed leaders in Healthcare both from South Africa and Harvard University. There is of course a mix of varied people with diverse background listening intently and sharing their own unique experiences.

It is the first time that I have ever been amongst such a great group of people from all the various provinces and cities in SA, where a think tank is forming.

With respect to copyright of their unique work I quickly referenced the framework information that is public available via Wikipedia. The broad outline of the five dimensions is here below:

There are five dimensions of the meta-leadership framework:

The Person of the Meta-Leader
The Situation
Leading the Silo
Leading Up
Leading Connectivity

The Person of the Meta-Leader
This first component of meta-leadership requires self-awareness and self-regulation so that one is leading intentionally with balance, discipline, and direction. One looks at one’s individual strengths, weaknesses, and biases with an emphasis on emotional intelligence.

The Situation
The meta-leader must form an accurate picture of the situation to include the nature of the problem, the culture, the context, and what is occurring — and articulate this to those involved.

Leading the Silo
The leader must enable his or her individual silo to achieve maximum effectiveness. One does this by empowering those within and giving them the tools to become more effective.

Leading Up
One must understand the expectations and priorities of one’s superiors and deliver against them appropriately. This may mean influencing that superior toward an appropriate solution or resolution of the situation.

Leading Connectivity
One must be able to step out of their silo and effectively engage other silos — either within one’s own organization or in others — in seeing the overall mission and working together to accomplish it.

Innovative thinking and strategies on Executive Leadership in Health Services Management


A few months back I saw an advertisement for an Executive Leadership course jointly called the ASELPH. It was a multi-institutional course that was offered by Harvard School in Public Health, University of Pretoria, and University of Fort Hare.

I was of course ecstatic, as being able to study Executive Leadership under the guidance of Harvard and South Africa universities was a dream come true. It has always been a dream to being able to study at Harvard. Thanking the opportunity of being on an Executive course was the cherry on the top.

Prof Barry Durn is a member of the Harvard University faculty and as a fantastic and esteemed expert on Leadership, recommended that each ‘Fellow’ on the course journal their thoughts as the course progresses, daily. The intention is so that ideas and concepts considered whilst learned are not quickly forgotten by the end of the course.

I’ve decided to use my blog to document this journey and it will be interspersed by other posts. I hope it serves to motivate you and stimulate more innovative thinking.

Shockingly sold by sellers at the NACSA


After leaving home at 6am to attend the National Achievers Congress at the Sandton Convention Centre, I was amped for a great day of valuable content and presentations. Of course after the crazy high fees for the two day congress, I expected a focus on promoting and upskilling entrepreneurs.

There was some great content by the likes of Les Brown and some of the other presenters, but there was the ironic sales pitches by many of the presenters who wanted to sell training courses on sales and presentations by selling to people who already PAID for this hoping to get this at this congress. The focused selling strategy by the presenters was fantastic, but sadly for their own benefit primarily.

Credit must be given to the organisers for the strong sell through strategy and up-selling focus as there was some value generated for the attendees. However not enough value was generated to for the people who already were there to learn, although the key benefits were only for the presenters and organisers.

I attended for the main focus of networking and did meet a few key people like DJ Sbu and others. Once I continue to nurture these relationships and add value to each, I am certain there will be mutual value creation.

More updates tomorrow…

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Important: The information provided here is not necessarily by Dr Terrence O. Kommal. This site is contributed to by a range of writers. Any opinions stated are attributed to the respective authors thereof. Dr Terrence O. Kommal and SUTRA Media accept no liability for any consequences of using such provided information. The information provided are considered for information purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice. Copyright 2013, SUTRA Media