UKZN Equips Student Leaders with Ethical Leadership Skills
UKZN’s Golden Key International Honour Society chapter in collaboration with Student Governance and Leadership Development hosted a leadership development seminar for student leaders of all University clubs and societies at the Senate Chamber on the Westville campus.
Golden Key recognises and encourages academic excellence amongst the top 15% of university students. Membership is by invitation only to students in all fields of study based solely on objective evaluation of their academic achievements.
In her welcome address Golden Key chapter President and UKZN student, Ms Thembelihle Mayaba spoke on the history and the aim of the society in shaping and moulding young leaders.
She said: ‘The aim of the seminar is to develop student leaders to be exceptional individuals by inspiring them to accept leadership responsibilities as part of their contribution to society; to create a forum that will be conducive for exchanging ideas and increasing awareness of current and emerging leadership challenges; and to establish a network among student leaders to support continuous future collaboration among clubs and societies.
‘In essence we are here to mould good leaders.’
In her talk titled: Ethical Leadership for Student Leaders, Executive Director: Student Services, Dr Rose Laka-Mathebula said that ethical leadership is one of the main characteristics that define leaders. She added that it is marked by consistency and comes with responsibility because it shows the values that drive the behaviour and conduct of that leader.
During an exercise where students worked in pairs to determine what makes an ethical leader different from others, the responses included that an ethical leader is honest, is able to learn from others, has a vision in the space they are leading and practices bottom-up leadership.
Laka-Mathebula endorsed these responses and added that leaders must be able to trust and be trusted by others and tell the truth at all times. They should share information and lead through collaboration to enable others to know where the Institution is going.
She also spoke on the personal and professional traits of good leaders. During the second exercise, she encouraged the students to become familiar with UKZN’s rules on accepting gifts. She noted that, while gifts can be innocent, they can also land one in hot water. She advised the participants to be good role models through ethical leadership.
Senior lecturer in Educational Leadership, Management and Policy, Dr Khumbulani Myende who spoke on innovative leadership said that he is an example of a former SRC member that had achieved his doctorate. He said that innovative leaders do not only think of the present, but also of the future.
Myende highlighted that innovation is a team sport; therefore, leaders must learn to tap the assets of each individual in their team. He added that leaders also have the responsibility to create an environment or space that enables people to use their talent to do the right thing. He encouraged students to move away from conventional modes of leadership.
SRC Executive President, Mr Sanele Hlongwa reminded students that if one is a leader, one is a leader everywhere. He advised them to respect others, listen to the people they are leading, shield and protect those following them and to be a team player.
Hlongwa said working successfully with a team means being able to work with different characters and allocate work according to each person’s strengths.
Words: Sithembile Shabangu