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1 November 2022
First cohort of UWC value-based trained leaders graduate
Transforming and empowering leaders is critical to the Institutional Operating Plan goals of the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The first cohort of middle managers completed the Value-Based Leadership Development Programme (VBLDP), facilitated by Aephoria Partners and the UWC Human Resources Department, on Monday, 24 October 2022.  
Mr Meko Magida, UWC's Executive Director: HR

UWC Executive Director of Human Resources, Mr Meko Magida, explained: “Leadership development has always been one of the key programmes we want to facilitate by ensuring that people who attend these programmes are equipped to lead in the areas they find themselves in, with the aim of taking the university to another level - capacity building in order to produce people who are satisfied with their development”.
In the words of Mr Magida, “It is important to build resilience as a person and especially as a leader. It has to start with encouraging your heart. There are principles and practices that support the basic human need to appreciate what we do and who we are.”

Some of the principles and practices mentioned were the following:
  • Setting clear standards;
  • A shared vision,
  • Role modelling,
  • Enabling others to act and
  • Celebrating together. 
“In conclusion, COVID-19 is an example of a crisis that caused stress and shock. We should all develop a greater capacity to bounce back from a crisis, learn from it and take advantage of opportunities in good and bad times”, said Mr Magida.

Professor José Frantz, DVC: Research and Innovation, shared her leadership journey with the graduating leaders and highlighted the following key points:
  • “As a leader, know your purpose and your calling - the journey may not be easy but it is worth it.”
  • “Remain true to yourself and believe in yourself.”
  • “Capacitation of others is key to being a good leader.”
  • “Know who you allow to sit at your table as part of your inner circle - people are only loyal to you for as long as they can get something from you.” 
The VBLDP is a Discretionary Grant Training Programme designed to further and embed a shared set of values identified in the 2018 UWC Culture Survey. The programme aims to support the approach of value-based leadership principles referred to in the Institutional Operating Plan. 

In a statement, Aephoria Partners explained that the value-based leadership programme is geared towards moving an employee from control-driven, unemotional and task-oriented leadership to focusing on working in a values-driven manner. This journey enhances the leader’s capacity to empower and support their teams, unlock innovation through liberating the operational spaces of engagement, and enable performance in line with the institution’s mission, vision and values. 

The programme was attended by 20 UWC academic and professional support staff. The modules included Leading in times of change, Understanding myself, Understanding my colleagues, and Culture and Strategy. Participants also had one on one coaching sessions. 

Lucille Greeff, one of the Aephoria facilitators, said the programme brought staff from various faculties and departments together. 
“These are the future executive directors of the institution. And you can see that they all care deeply about people and the quality of the work that UWC does. And so you've got champions engaged, and that's the real value,” said Greeff. 

One of the graduates, Professor Penelope Martin, Director of the School of Nursing, said: “The VBLP was an eye opener for me as it made explicit where I am in respect of leadership maturity. I appreciated the 'hard' questions which I need to engage with to reflect on how I can develop as a leader towards achieving the organisation's goals”.

Shereeza Bergstedt, Management Accountant in the Finance Department, said the course helped her to understand herself and the people she deals with daily, including colleagues and family, stating that “It has definitely helped me to develop as a leader, to be more engaged as a UWC staff member”.

Lecturer in the Management Cluster in UWC’s EMS Faculty, Renier Grosch, said: “Initially, it was by default that I joined the programme, rather than by design. I must say, the growth I have experienced as a person and as a leader, is phenomenal. The programme was very participative. We could access our own growth based on the initial stages, leading up to the end of the programme. The friendships created over the last few months have been intentional and will definitely be maximised”. 

Before the certificates were presented, participants had an opportunity to present their action learning project and Prof Frantz and Mr Magida gave their feedback. The projects focused on the university’s values - Academic Excellence; Integrity and Accountability; Inclusivity and Diversity; Engagement and Responsiveness; and, Collegiality and Collaboration.
Group photo of all participants (graduates) and the facilitators from Aephoria Partners and the UWC Human Resources Department
See gallery of the graduation event below. All images, courtesy Ruvan Boshoff - UWC Media.