Mrs Mariane Vorster (centre) with Professor Musa Mabandla (seated right) and his leadership team at the LMMS two-day Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Training workshop.

Equipping Leaders with Key Skills

The School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences (LMMS) held a two-day Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Training workshop led by renowned coach and consultant, Mrs Mariane Vorster, on the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus.

The College of Health Sciences has held several such workshops to help equip its leaders with key skills required to be successful in their demanding positions.

The events are part of the College’s “Grow our People” strategy.

One of the key aspects, says Vorster, is realising that a leader’s role is to ‘attend to people’s souls’. ‘You need to be a visionary, inspire and listen to your staff and most importantly, build a future generation of leaders,’ she said.

Vorster encouraged participants to listen to people without interrupting. A listening exercise reinforced this message and everyone agreed that it was not easy to listen to an individual speak for three minutes without wanting to share your own experiences. However, listening enabled the person speaking to often come up with their own solutions to the problem since they were not interrupted and able to reflect.

‘The best solution sits with the person who created the problem,’ said Vorster.

Principle Programme Officer, Ms Ntokozo Mngadi, enjoyed the exercise. ‘It is so important to listen more and not think that as the manager, you need to always have the solution.’

Academic Leader of the Molecular and Cellular Disease theme, Dr Bongani Nkambule, reflected on the two-day training project. ‘I really enjoyed the training and learned a lot. I will always remember the Blind Spot exercise. It is my first time in a leadership role managing staff who are much older than me. I am now more aware of preconceived assumptions and will ensure I select the correct “tool” when engaging with my staff in future.’

Dean and Head of School, Professor Musa Mabandla, said: ‘I had to wear two hats during the two days: one as a leader and the other as a participant. Self-awareness helps and I enjoyed the exercises that brought my team and I closer. I will reinforce two key learnings: the first being to ensure that I support, motivate and encourage staff to realise the vision and not force the process; and secondly, that I reflect on Spiral Dynamics to ensure I gain a better understanding about the individuals in my team. These are two essential tools.’

Said the Head of Forensic Medicine, Dr Sipho Mfolozi: ‘This was the first time I attended leadership training. I found the workshop extremely helpful and a wealth of information has been shared with us. It’s now time to implement the learnings.’

Vorster thanked the staff for their enthusiasm: ‘It was very exciting working with people who constantly challenged the concepts. We engaged with the material and I remain positive that all participants will take these lessons forward into the office.’

Words: MaryAnn Francis