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The Leadership Style of Mr Johannes Kruger, Chief Executive officer of Xy Company Limited

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Executive Summary

This report is a review of a certain Mr Johannes Kruger who was employed by the Board as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company, pseudo-named as The XY Company Limited. Mr Kruger came highly recommended. He possessed the BA and MA degrees of the Stellenbosch University in Economics and he was also a Fellow (1985) of the Association of the Chartered Accountants, having qualified as an Accountant in 1980. The major deliverables he was charged with included the following: In the first place it was his responsibility to build and test the proto-type of the new reactor in 2004 and in 2008 to roll out the first nuclear reactors to some of the major cities in the country. The Company required the building of the requisite type of fuel. The second responsibility given was to transform the Company so as to be reflective of the national demographics. The leadership literature has been reviewed to shed light on some of the models of leadership so as to gauge Mr Kruger as a leader. Three challenges have been elaborated on in which the leadership of the Mr Kruger was called in as to his behavior, personal vision for the company and whether or not the Board could rely on him to lead the young Company to greatness. On all three challenges the decisions made by and under Mr Kruger resulted in deadlines being delayed and targets missed. He could not be a "model, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, encourage the heart [or] challenge the process", as Komives (2011) puts it. The major deliverables went unfulfilled. It remained for the Board to make decision on the future of Mr Kruger in the XY Company Limited.

2. Introduction

The XY Company Limited was formed in 1998 by the South African Government through an Act of Parliament to develop and construct a nuclear reactor system suitable for the local conditions which would be a long term answer to the energy needs of the country. The Government made know the intention to sell the idea and the product to the Member States of the Southern African Development community (SADC). This was a highly scientific undertaking whose basic concept was already known but the technology of which required to be developed, tested and the end product built. A sizeable scientific human resource already existed in the country. Nonetheless the Company still needed to engage additional international experts in many areas.

The Board of XY Company Limited, hereafter referred to simply as the Company, sought and procured the services of a certain Mr Johannes Kruger as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mr Kruger came highly recommended. He possessed the BA and MA degrees of the Stellenbosch University in Economics and he was also a Fellow (1985) of the Association of the Chartered Accountants, having qualified as an Accountant in 1980. He had been a CEO of a secretive company that developed sophisticated weapons system that was used in the war of liberation, the so-called Angolan War. This company wound up its operations at the advent of the negotiation for a New South Africa. Mr Kruger was a valued member of a number of Companies and charitable organizations, including Standard Bank, Anglo American Company to name but a few. There were some misgivings among some members of Board during his appointment debate because of his high level connections to the Apartheid Government. But in the spirit of the Rainbow Nation the majority of the Board members were swayed to appointing him. However, the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League did not mince its words in condemning his appointment, bringing to fore his past that was shrouded in secrecy.

Protestations notwithstanding, Mr Kruger became the CEO of the Company in 1998. The major deliverables he was charged with included the following: In the first place it was his responsibility to build and test the proto-type of the new reactor in 2004 and in 2008 to roll out the first nuclear reactors to some of the major cities in the country. The Company required the building of the requisite type of fuel. The second responsibility given was to transform the Company so as to be reflective of the national demographics. It should be noted that the nuclear science and technology was an area in which people of colour were barred to participate by successive Apartheid regimes. These were the main areas in which he would be judged as to success or failure of his appointment. The CEO had the mandate to obtain any expertise needed from anywhere in order to accomplish the assignment. In effect, Mr Kruger had the mission to grow the company. In other words his was both to manage and to provide leadership to the Company.

Mr Kruger needed to assemble a group of people who should help him in planning, organizing, and in providing the necessary controls to ensure the attainment of the goals set for the Company at different stages of the project lifetime. This group was to be geared, therefore, to provide management of the Company. The sore function of Mr Kruger, on the other hand, was to provide leadership to this senior management in particular and to the Company in general. His was to make decisions, inspire the staff, inject the necessary influences toward the realization of the vision through the mission the Board and hence the State had entrusted him with.

Mr Kruger's leadership style could sink or uplift the organization to greater heights by delivering as he was mandated to do. In next section (Section 3) leadership literature is reviewed to shed light on some of the models of leadership. In Section 4 the specific causes of the challenges that faced the leadership of Mr Kruger are presented. The specific effects of these challenges are commented on in Section 5. The options that existed to meet the challenges are also presented, Section 6. Section 7 gives recommendation while Section 8 contains some of the references.

3. Literature Review

Leadership as a subject of scientific inquiry dates from 1930's when the research centred on finding the traits that are common in leaders. The belief was, as it is sometimes heard even today, that "leaders are born and not made" (Daft, 2008, Kirkpatrick, 1991). The investigations were concerned with leader's physical, mental and social characteristics and to associate these traits to leadership effectiveness; the results obtained could not be reproduced in empirical findings, apart from some loose connection (Daft, 2008). A further improvement was aimed at studying behavioural characteristics in leaders. The behavioural theories were introduced in 1940's and '50s. These behaviours go under the titles of the Ohio State (Daft, 2008; Westaby, 2010) and the Michigan studies (Daft, 2008, Fiedler, 1996).

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