PROF STAN'S NOTE: MARCH 2021 NEWSLETTER TO RC STAFF
To work effectively in a team requires trust. I am often encouraged by the large degree of trust I observe as we collaborate in our Responsibility Centre, but we should never take it for granted. And sometimes we have to build trust as we strive to become a genuinely empowering leader, writes Prof Frances Frei from Harvard Business School and Anne Morriss, executive founder of The Leadership Consortium in the Harvard Business Review.
By focusing on the core drivers of trust in a relationship: authenticity, logic, and empathy. People tend to trust you when they think they are interacting with the real you (authenticity), when they have faith in your judgement and competence (logic), and when they believe you care about them (empathy).
The traditional leadership narrative is all about you: your vision and strategy, your ability to make the tough calls and rally the troops, your talents, your charisma, your heroic moments of courage and instinct. “But leadership isn't about you. It's about empowering other people as a result of your presence and about making sure that the impact of your leadership continues into your absence."
We have been through a very tough 2020, but the good news is, Stellenbosch University's campuses are open again, and outside students are once again enjoying student life, although at a safe distance. Indeed, they returned to a better campus – with respect to facilities and IT – than before lockdown.
This year trust will be central to our success: trust in our ability as a learning organisation where people realise their dreams, where we care about our staff and students and where we realise the long-term commitment to a thriving University.
We have a lot to be proud of. Our Finance Division successfully closed the 2020 financial year and the results are in line with our projections. IT and Facilities Management has embarked on an ambitious project to prepare our lecture halls for higher quality hybrid teaching and learning with the implementation of the Extended Learning Spaces (ELS) project; Innovus's LaunchLab kicked off the Techpreneurship Centre's programme with the first cohort on 1 February; Finance is working hard to implement the incredibly complex SUNFin project, and Maties Sport is priming thirteen student-athletes for the selection of the team Go for Gold for this year's Olympic Games and Paralympics. There are many more and you can read some of those stories in this month's Gazette.
To all the staff in our Responsibility Centre's five divisions, thank you for your unique push and determination to keep the wheels turning. Together we will meet the challenges of 2021 without sacrificing what we do best: creating and sustaining a healthy and dynamic learning environment where future leaders are being educated.
I wish you well for the rest of 2021.
Stan du Plessis