• Editor

Want to retain and grow black managerial skill in your company? Read this

Black and white managers walk the same broad path to arrive at job satisfaction: working with leaders who provide adequate career development opportunities and receiving adequate recognition, training, mentoring and fair remuneration.

However, for black managers job satisfaction also depends on an organisation’s commitment to transformation, cultural intelligence, valuing of ethnic diversity, cultural intelligence and autonomy.

This is according to a new study, which finds that job-hopping by black managers is often a result of being placed in "soft jobs" with limited authority (tokenism), insufficient support in dealing with complexity, fear of failure, a lack of trust, open resistance between line and executive management, frustration with corporate culture, exclusion from “inner circles” and language barriers.

The study also reveals that there is a correlation between job satisfaction and career development among black managers and inspirational motivation, including talking optimistically about the future, talking enthusiastically about what needs to be accomplished, articulating a compelling vision of the future and expressing confidence that goals will be achieved.

Based on their findings, the researchers have put forward 10 recommendations to organisations who are committed to retaining and growing black managerial skills.

• Effective organisations goes beyond job satisfaction – underpinned by adequate career development opportunities, recognition, mentoring, training and fair remuneration – to increase the tenure of black management. The concept of satisfaction is a mediocrity emotion. Setting a higher emotional target for the employees inspires people. Concepts like raving employees or job excitement can replace the older concept of job satisfaction. Successful organisations design processes to determine the expectations of its talent and take time to meet these expectations in a systemic process.

• Organisations who demonstrate commitment to transformation in terms of employment equity and BBBEE will see a higher retention rate of black management. This commitment can include transformation committees, BBBEE initiatives and close collaboration with black management.

• Organisations should demonstrate that they value ethnic diversity, support community-based organisations and provide autonomy to black managers. This will lead to increased job excitement, retention and career development among black managers as well as other leaders. In some of the most innovative organisations in the world, knowledge creation happens when there are no boundaries in terms of positions. Of course, this requires a solid knowledge creation process in place that extracts the diverse thoughts of leaders and synthesizes them into practical solutions.

• Transformational leaders operate with a greater sense of social responsibility and a spirit of inclusivity, and they believe that managing diversity is not only about legal compliance but rather a moral obligation. Therefore, transformational leadership is critical for South African companies. In many service-based and knowledge-oriented functions, transformational leadership is a foundation for strategic development. While strategies vary, the systemic development of transformational leaders provides a healthy foundation for sustained success.

• To attract and retain black leadership and eliminate job-hopping, organisations should avoid placing black managers in “soft jobs” with limited authority and career advancement opportunities. Organisations should assist black managers to handle increased complexity, resistance between line and executive management, and fear of failure.

• Organisations should focus on establishing a corporate culture that enhances the job satisfaction of black managers. This means helping to break down “inner circles”, isolation and language barriers. While culture is an invisible challenge to organisations, simple actions like the enhancement of organisational policies and processes can make an impact. Rather than placing cultural change on the shoulders of a few people, strategic enhancements within the systems of organisations will enable the alignment of individual expectations and organisational processes.

• Organisations should focus on becoming culturally tuned to certain behaviours, qualities, skills, attitudes and values of colleagues to embrace ethnic diversity. The complexity of making systemic changes can be daunting for many leaders. Seeking understanding is the foundation for successful change. A first step is to start with the values exploration process where individual values are collected and synthesised into a shared value statement. From this shared values statement, all other actions are more likely to result in the desired outcomes.

• Further research could focus on the role corporate culture in job satisfaction and career development among black managers; black managers’ expectations from corporate South Africa in terms of demonstrating their commitment to transformation and the de-racialisation of the economy.

• Organisations should focus on understanding the leadership style preferences of black managers and not force their own dominant ethnocentric culture. Furthermore, organisations should evaluate the effectiveness of current leadership development programmes in organisations.

• Further research can also investigate the influence of independent variables such as reinforcement theory, organisational productivity, management support and improved organisational performance on the integration of black leadership in companies.

About the research:

Critical Success Factors That Influence Black Leadership Integration in Companies Listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange

Authors: B. Valodia; T. Sun & T. Zachariah

Published: 18 April 2018

Download the full report here.


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