Ethics and leadership: A critical analysis of cultural resources for ethical leadership in Southern Africa.
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There is no doubt that there is a leadership problem of crisis proportions in Southern Africa and in Africa in general. This leadership crisis is not exclusively in the realm of politics, it can be found in business and even in some religions. Our media is usually replete with stories about unethical leadership that in most cases manifest itself in the form of corruption in government, companies, schools, universities, sporting organisations, just to mention a few. In all these instances there is no doubt that unethical leadership implies eroded integrity, insatiable accumulation of wealth and a general lack of concern for the wellbeing of others. Whilst Southern African cultures are endowed with traditional ethical resources such as Ubuntu/Unhu this study contents that our vital resource for ethical leadership undoubtedly will only come from traditional cultures of the indigenous people in Southern Africa.The main presumption of the study is that by employing traditional ethical resources for ethical leadership, a successful leader should be someone who is able to provide comprehensive wellbeing to those under his or her leadership. This shall be elaborated by drawing on some examples from traditional Zulu, Sotho and Shona cultures mainly cherished features of ethical leadership. With the main aim being to demonstrate that in these cultural traditions ethical leadership converged on the principle that one should live and lead in a way that gives primacy to the good of others where the final aim is to maximise inclusive well-being and social well-being and social harmony. With the above in mind the study comparatively analysed the contemporary conception of Western models of leadership, power and ethics with a view to assess their relevancy and applicability to Africa. In the process it was observed that the foundation for contemporary Western leadership practice, ethics and power discourse were deeply embedded in their cultural foundations of individual and atomistic views which primed the individual rights over general societal or community consideration unlike the African cultural heritage of Ubuntu which primes community over individual. The end result of the comparative analysis pointed to deficiencies in the adopted leadership frameworks of the West hence the resultant critical analysis of traditional cultural resources for ethical leadership. The analysis while noting the need and potential for usability of the traditional cultural resources also noted the practical globalisation trend as calling for innovation, independence of thought and ingenuity in the application of Ubuntu philosophy in modern society with its current trends and challenges. Ubuntu7 philosophy was concluded to undergird the new framework for A new paradigm of ethical leadership in Southern Africa in particular and Africa in general.