Employee Assessments Are Critical for Business in South Africa
In a recent interview, Profiles International’s Mark Cunningham discussed South Africa's business environment, people-related challenges they face, leadership charisma – and how Profiles’ employee assessments can help organizations improve their effectiveness.
The World Cup in 2010 put the spotlight on South Africa as a country, and from a business perspective, they’re still experiencing growth. Luckily the recessions and downturns that have plagued much of the rest of the world have spared the country.
When asked about charismatic leaders, no one ranks ahead of Nelson Mandela, who remains the benchmark for all others to follow. After his release from prison, he could have maintained a private life of seclusion, but he chose to use his position and experience to positively influence others. Even while he was in prison, he focused on educating and developing those around him. That is the mark of a truly charismatic leader.
What are the people-related challenges in South Africa?
Years of tribalism and colonialism have greatly influenced the business culture in South Africa, especially in the people-aspects of business. First, leaders need to learn to let go. There’s a natural tendency for them to want to control everything, but they need to let their people learn and grow.
On the flipside, workers seem to have accepted that they follow while leaders lead. Employees want to be told what to do by the bosses and not think and reason for themselves. “The followers were conditioned not to think.” Therefore, leaders are challenged with getting their people to think out of the box, to think for themselves and take initiative.
While it’s not uncommon for managers to have these types of employees on their staff, it is perhaps unusual to have such pervasive feelings and attitudes throughout a culture. There are obvious disadvantages here that need to be overcome in order to utilize employees to the extent of their capabilities and not just what they’re told to do.
How can employee assessments help leaders overcome these challenges?
“You cannot manage anything effectively if you can’t measure it,” said Cunningham. Profiles’ employee assessments can help business leaders and employees alike. Managers need to know their people in order to get the right people in the right roles. The data and insights gained from employee assessments provide leaders with the information necessary to make decisions from which they can manage their employees.
Employee assessment data also provide consistency from one evaluation to the next not only for one hiring manager, but throughout an entire company.
How can leaders use employee assessments to improve their own effectiveness?
Everyone, including leaders, have to realize that there are four ingredients to change:
- Admit that you need to change. If I don’t know that I need to change, will I ever? Where am I right now?
- What do I need to do to change? Do I need a new mindset? A new set of skills?
- Do I have the will and desire to change? Find and channel your inner strength to improve yourself.
- Change your ways and old habits by putting new skills and attitudes into practice each day.
This is where 360-degree assessments are most useful for leaders and managers. We all have blind spots that prevent us from seeing our true selves, or how others see us. But 360-degree assessments provide insightful feedback from superiors, peers, and subordinates to help you on the way. These have been and will continue to be especially useful in changing the mindset in South African business.
Watch the full interview with Mark here, or learn more about employee assessments.