Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee describes Ubuntu as this, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” This African philosophy stresses the importance of connections between individuals and encourages these connected individuals to work towards a greater goal or objective. This philosophy extends to the workplace, as it reminds us that an individual cannot accomplish something alone, whether it is a simple goal or the enormous task of leading. With concerns to the latter, Ubuntu provides a model for leaders so they may guide themselves and others to success. A leader with Ubuntu instilled in him or her is empathetic, encouraging of his or her peers, discouraging of humiliation or belittlement, and promotes the strength of the group, as this is the only way the team can succeed.
The Ubuntu philosophy extends to all facets of workplace life and can help instill workplace intimacy, which only occurs when a leader acts genuinely in the presence of his or her colleagues. However, this can be a particularly challenging step for a leader, as he or she must create an area that is safe and comfortable for each individual to speak his or her mind. Leaders must act compassionately and remain open minded so they may listen and understand their employees more thoroughly. It is only with deliberate actions and practice that a workplace can become secure and peers may share thoughts or ideas without fear of embarrassment.
Before creating an intimate workplace, a leader must be aware of the different types of leadership that fosters intimacy. The four types of intimate leadership are listed below:
1. Organizational: This type of leadership derives from an understanding of the company or organization’s goals and values.
2. Self: This type of leadership comes from knowing one’s self and being comfortable with all facets of one’s personality.
3. Social: Social leadership arrives from close observation of others and understanding the complexity of others’ emotions. In the end, this enables trust between individuals, especially between a leader and his or her colleagues.
4. Influential: This type of leadership makes use of the three mentioned above to allow the team to grow as one.
Ultimately, an intimate leader is born from these principles and a mentality resembling that of Ubuntu. The fundamental goal of an intimate leader is to support his or her peers while improving the group’s work and reaching the company’s goals. If you’d like to learn more about intimate leadership, please visit CoachQuest at www.coachquestleader.com.
Teresa Martining is an accomplished executive manager who believes in leadership training and coaching for maximum benefits in nearly any organization – especially those working through a culture change. She is an admirer of the CoachQuest curriculum and an agent of positive change. Her articles often bring up emerging concerns and trends throughout the business world, while focusing on the importance of Intimate leader , intimate leadership, communication, and aligned goals.