Dear Cyril, here’s how to be a load-shed leader

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Dear Cyril, here’s how to be a load-shed leader

FREE TO READ | Fed-up South Africans desperately need strong leaders to at least make the right noises

Columnist

Here are seven leadership lessons from the stage 6 load-shedding crisis.

Lesson number 1: do not leave the country in the middle of a crisis. I do not care whether it is an official visit to Egypt or the funeral of the Dalai Lama. As a leader, your first responsibility is to be present in a crisis. I do not only mean physical presence – that helps, that your people sense you are among them in dire moments of darkness, literally. I also mean being emotionally present, ensuring that you are seen to be walking among the people, listening to their concerns and, yes, absorbing their anger.

When you jet out to North Africa to lap up the adulation of the Egyptians, it comes across as tone deaf. Good leaders are the first on the scene when a crisis breaks. What can the New Zealand prime minister possibly do wrong? She who rushed to the scene of the terror killings of Muslims in Christchurch and instantly became a household name around the world. This week, when the White Island volcano erupted, there was Jacinda Ardern consoling and directing the nation. I agree with those who said our president should have made his apologies to the Egyptians, jumped back on his plane, and come home to face the music. It’s not nice. I too would rather be in a VIP box with Prince Harry in Yokohama to watch the Springboks crush the English in the Rugby World Cup final. But this is leadership – when the chips are down, you are up and present in the crisis...

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