Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
FMHS grows agile leaders through innovative course
Author: FMHS Marketing & Communications – Florence de Vries
Published: 26/10/2023

The American author John Maxwell once said there is almost no limit to the potential of an organisation that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.

With the intention of building a stronger organisation, Stellenbosch University's (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) recently sent 20 staff members in management positions on a two-week Leadership Development Programme at Stellenbosch Business School (USB) with the objective of providing them with the tools to manage teams effectively and bring impactful projects to fruition. Mr Eben Mouton, FMHS Senior Director: Business Management, who coordinates the programme, started the leadership programme in 2013 with the aim of ensuring that prospective and current leaders at the FMHS are able to think and act with agility in a changing society. “The objective is to ensure our managers in the field of medicine and health sciences – whether they are academic or professional administrative staff – are able to adapt to new challenges and opportunities as they arise."

Says Mouton: “The constantly evolving medicine and health sciences field in South Africa begs the question: How best can we equip students and staff? We have to make them aware of how the inequality of the past affects how we live today and we have to ensure that they are in the best position to respond and lead appropriately when necessary."

The FMHS is one of Africa's top health sciences institutions with a clear vision to be the leading research-intensive health sciences faculty in and for Africa. With nearly 5 000 students and over 1 500 academic and professional administrative staff members, the FMHS wants to lead by facilitating transformative life-long learning and to this end, ensures that its future healthcare professionals and researchers (students) receive the best training and invests in its staff to position them to help achieve this vision.

The FMHS' two-week Leadership Development Programme (LDP) included a Transformational Leadership course presented by Prof Julian Sonn which sought to help participants own their personal, situational and psychological 'power' both in everyday life as well as in the workplace. This course delved into the concept of 'race' in the context of South Africa's past and present with the view to increasing participants' awareness of the concept which continues to play a role in workplace interactions.

In the Leader as Coach module, presented by Prof Salome van Coller, participants were taught how to 'listen', 'hold the silence' and 'reframe' situations in the context of working with teams and individuals. The goal of this module was to help the FMHS managers unlock potential in others to maximise their own performance.

Dr Morné Mostert presented the Case for Leadership module wherein participants were asked to consider the various lenses through which people view managers and how leadership identities tend shift over time.

The Values-Driven Leadership module was presented by Prof Arnold Smit. This part of the course was premised on the idea that it is possible to create a positive organisational culture by building trust in leadership and among employees. Examples of transparency, respect, fairness and accountability as part of an organisation's core values were used to help establish protocols using real scenarios in the workplace. 

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences sends twenty managers or staff members with management potential on the LDP annually. For more information, contact