Browsing all articles in Leadership Development

What if power, anxiety and love lie at the heart of leadership? Christo Nel TED Aruba 23rd September 2016

What if power, anxiety and love lie at the heart of leadership?

“What could occur if you and I, if we could be simply human enough to embrace and celebrate power, anxiety and love as the drivers that guide us as leaders? If we can make Power, Anxiety and Love the guiding light of our thinking, decisions and actions we create the freedom that sets us free to become the leaders we can truly be!” read more

MBA Programmes focus on Integrated Business Practices – Nyenrode Business Universiteit

Nyenrode Redesigns Its MBA Program Around Integrated Business Practices Instead Of Traditional Courses:

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Reflecting on the Leadership Life of Nelson Mandela – contributions from Goodnews Cadogan, Paul de Beer, Christo Nel, Funeka Plaatjie-Njobeni and Kerry Sandison


The passing of Madiba has touched the core of being human and being a leader, and his legacy will linger in our midst for centuries to come. One of the ways that we can make sense of how one man’s life is affecting the world is perhaps to seek for and also live the values and principles he lived by. How else could it be possible for one man to even in death bring together people from often radically opposing views? It is as if he has awakened a universal sense of being within millions of people across the globe.
The legacy of Nelson Mandela symbolises and brings to life so much of great leadership that scholars, philosophers, politicians, but most importantly, ordinary people will continue to explore what he has meant to humanity and most specifically to each one of us at an individual level. No reflection on his leadership lessons can ever hope to be complete and so each moment of mediation is just that: a moment extracted from his lifelong presence and universal examples he has gifted us.
We reflect on three integral virtues that are amongst many, that define the great leadership Madiba stood for:

• The creative anxiety to face into the storm and turmoil of uncertainty without reacting defensively from a place of rage or collapsing into paralysis.

• The conscious exercise of generative power that enables people contribute to shaping circumstances in a sustainable and aspirational way.

• The capacity of relentless love that enables us to engage with others in ways that enhance one another even when we are in total disagreement, and to do it in ways that never undermine the self-worth and dignity of others. read more

Christo Nel new MBA Program Director at Nyenrode Business Universiteit

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Breukelen, The Netherlands, 28 September 2013 – Starting September 1st, 2013, Christo Nel will be the new Program Director of International MBA and Executive MBA at Nyenrode Business Universiteit in the Netherlands. Christo Nel is a previous head of the Centre for Leadership Studies at the Stellenbosch University School of Business (USB).
Until recently Christo Nel has been the Visiting Lecturer Extraordinaire at USB where he specialized in leadership development and high performance organization cultures and practices. His wealth of experience of the challenges facing leadership of medium to large and corporate organizations makes him one of South Africa’s most respected consultants and executive coaches.

Christo Nel: “I am excited to become involved with Nyenrode Business Universiteit. Its well established core values Leadership-Entrepreneurship-Stewardship (LES) represents perhaps the largest and often underutilized resource available to us as individuals, to teams, to organizations, and to society as a whole. Research shows that leaders are not born, they are developed. The excellence and depth of Nyenrode’s faculty, management and staff convinced me that Nyenrode has the ability and the will to facilitate the development and exceptional potential of our students.” read more

Conscious leadership a key factor of sustainability by Paul de Beer

Con-scious – Having an awareness of one’s environment and one’s own existence, sensations, and thoughts.  Conscious is a word that has been coming up for me a lot when dealing with leaders at senior levels within organisations.    It means different things to me in different dimensions.  At the personal level it means being truly aware of the impact of one’s leadership on others and the organisation over time.  Do other people hear what I am saying and understand it in the way I intended when I delivered those words? Do I understand my impact on others?  Is the person I imagine I am, the same person experienced by others?    Does my leadership have the best effect on others?  Most people answer “yes” to all these questions until they elicit honest feedback from their manager, peers and/or reports.   Organisational systems generally don’t create environments in which brutally honest feedback can be given and therefore requires leaders to either use third party confidential 360 instruments or to gradually show the people surrounding them that they value developmental feedback and consistently solicit that feedback.   For most people the former is the only way.

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Living Webs of Leadership: Building Leadership at every level – by Christo Nel

One of the greatest shifts from the more conventional approach to leadership and organisational behaviour is the belief that organisations need to develop “a company of leaders.” Instead of associating leadership with “positions at the top” it needs to be defined as the development of leadership accountabilities and related focus at every level. By adopting this philosophy of the firm, it becomes possible to unleash the inherent creative and innovating potential of people; and also to facilitate the evolution of ongoing leadership development as an individual progress from one level of work to the next.

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Growing your own wood – by Christo Nel


Leadership transformation in South Africa: Companies need to invest in their leadership in order to be sustainable.

There is a very real crisis of unemployment in this country, with significant elements of the solution lying in the transformation of how business leadership views the role of their organisations in society.

The South African private sector post-1994 has generally shown exceptional growth in terms of generating profit, performance on the stock exchange and share growth, and international trade. However, this period has also seen ‘jobless’ growth, creating an unequal balance between rich and poor and diminishing opportunities for job seekers.  Transformation in corporate leadership and the role of business in society is vital to contribute to the sustainable evolution of South Africa.  read more

Innovative Leadership – Christo Nel

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Christo Nel explores the challenge of integrating three powerful facets of long term success – Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Stewardship

The concept of leadership remains one that lends itself to many definitions which can cause confusion. Peter Drucker defined it as the art of creative destruction. Victor Vroom defines it as exercising non-coercive influence with conscious intent, and in ways that serve the interests of all stakeholders. Nyenrode Business University (Netherlands) has defined its core ethos and purpose as the development of Leadership – Entrepreneurship – Stewardship, or LES, with entrepreneurship focusing on the pursuit of continuous innovation and change that enhances sustainable performance and progress.

Together this traid shifts the focus on to “the leadership and stewardship of su

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The Practice and Virtues of High Impact Leadership and Teaming by Christo Nel 2012

During the past two decades, and specifically since the early 2000’s, significant progress has been made to determine what enables senior managerial and specifically executive leadership teams to deliver sustainable high performance. This has included the following activities and research:

  • Work conducted with more than 20 executive teams since the mid 1990s;
  • A review of more than 200 literature sources;
  • A doctoral research programme conducted under the auspices of the Centre for Work-based Learning at Middlesex University.
  • An MBA research project exploring the extent to which the literature acknowledges the elements that contribute to “the practice and virtues of leadership.”
  • A year-long research project conducted by 30 post-graduate students to define and apply the elements of “the practice and virtues of leadership” in their own workplace settings.
  • Utilising “the practice and virtues of leadership” framework to facilitate the design and implementation of individual and team leadership development with a wide range of executive teams facing diverse circumstances.
  • The development and use of a set of assessment tools that people can use to determine the status of their development of various elements of the “practice of leadership.” This also helps people to identify and implement personal and team development goals which deepen the real-life application of the “practice and virtues of leadership.”

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Better Leadership Through Anxiety Management By Paul de Beer

A key factor in the success of modern leadership is learning to hold back personal assumptions and listening to the views of those that are able to deliver valuable input on a particular subject.  This is a very difficult skill to master, as it necessitates that such leaders are able to trust first, believe in the potential of others and embrace the fact that their own personal view of the world may be skewed with their own subjectivity.

More traditional or directive leaders often feel that their style is participatory, but are sometimes shocked to hear that this is not what their subordinates think.  Leadership rank tends to have a magnifying effect on their actions, and often limits the feedback given to them by others.  Modern leaders need to learn skills such as coaching and facilitating in order to help enable their teams.  Good coaching and facilitating requires the suspension of personal judgments while guiding others towards the best solution.

So why do we as people feel such anxiety when hearing views that contradict our own, particularly in the workplace? Can we learn to embrace differing views without anxiety?  The normal human response is to avoid anxiety by taking input, but discarding many of the ideas proposed to us.  Leadership behaviour such as this, in a team setting, could be described as energy-draining behaviour, and will result in decreased creativity and minimised team performance.


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