Voices

From the aggressors to the negators: The diverse characters in the ANC NEC

2018-01-11 02:11

The new ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa will be facing different characters, personalities and temperaments within the new national executive committee.

Integrating and uniting two different camps will not be an easy task.

Generally, people tend to behave in a certain way during their first seating or meeting. Others want to show off, while others want to support the new leader.

In this article, I briefly present and discuss different characters which are likely to emerge during the committee’s maiden meeting.

1. The Aggressors: These people deliberately and overtly disagree with others in the meeting thereby causing chaos and mayhem.

2. The Negators: These people are often critical of others’ ideas thereby thwarting the flow of the discussions and deliberations.

3. The Withdrawers: These people intentionally and wilfully don’t participate in the discussions. They come to the meeting, sit there and say nothing.

4. The Disrupters: They use meetings as fun time and a way to get out real work. They distract other people by telling jokes or even reading unrelated material while the meeting is still on.

5. The Dominators: These people try to control the conversation and dictate what people should be doing. Often exaggerate their knowledge and monopolise any conversation claiming to know more about the situation and have better solutions and answers.

6. The Compromisers: They always offer to change their position for the good of the organisation. They are willing to yield position or meet others half way.

7. The Recognition Seekers: These people are boastful, or dominate the discussion. They always want to be noticed and seen as the most important people in the meeting.

8. The Encouragers: These people affirm, support and praise the efforts of other people. They demonstrate warmth and provide a positive attitude in meetings.

9. The Harmonisers: They conciliate differences between individuals in the meeting. They seek ways to reduce tension and diffuse a situation by providing further explanations.

10. Excessive deference to authority: This happens when people want to be seen to agree with a leader, and therefore hold back expressing their own opinions.

The new top six of the ANC and the president in particular must devise novel and innovative strategies to manage and deal with these different characters.

ANC is a very complex organisation. Many people confuse complex with complicated. They assume if something is complex it is automatically complicated.

There is actually a difference between a complex organisation and a complicated organisation.

A complicated organisation can have many components and can be quite difficult and obscure but it is easy to distinguish the relationships between the components, actors or stakeholders as they are fixed and clearly defined.

It is easy to analyse and predict the outcomes of a complicated organisation.

However, complex organisations are composed by a large number of dynamic interactions. Complicated organisations are described by rules; whereas complex organisations are characterised by relationships.

Complex organisations are quite unpredictable. They are defined by emergent properties, meaning things emerge, they are not always planned.

So, you can define ANC as a complex dynamic and adaptive organisation. Dynamic in that it must constantly change. It is not static.

It is very dangerous for ANC to always refer to its traditions. Yes, organisations learn from and appreciate their traditions and cultures but time and environments change.

Ramaphosa must be cognizant that the ANC will be obsolete if it does not change. It can not be stuck to its traditions.

It is a complex and dynamic organisation, but is adaptive in that it must continually change to fit the ever sociopolitical changing environment.

It must adapt to its internal and external environment.

It must learn to cope with its endogenous pressures and challenges of uniting the organisation, while still dealing with the exogenous pressures of the country of growing the economy and reducing unemployment.

Dr Mazwe Majola is a leadership expert and organisational strategist. He is currently involved with the University of Pretoria and Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), facilitating or lecturing leadership, management, and strategy.

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January 14 2018