Sunday, 21 April 2024 04:44

The best of humans in the machine age - Alvin Govender

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In a world increasingly powered by machines and artificial intelligence, our human qualities have never been so crucial. Good and trustworthy leadership has become more important than ever before. Even the best-engineered technology and honed strategy will fail without good leadership to guide and inspire people. Leaders drive projects, and people deliver results.

International performance coach and public speaker Alvin Govender sees leadership as the missing piece when tackling the crisis and opportunities around us.

"Leadership is not a person. It's a system that supports values, creates continuity, and encourages trust in leaders and also the people next to us. Leadership is about direction and results, but in the modern era, it's also about empathy and emotional intelligence. When we can use machines to do most of the work for us, what is the value of a human being? It's in their understanding and perspective, and it's a skillset that everyone can develop."

Leadership grounded in research and experience

Govender's career focuses on bringing the best out of people and organisations. For over twenty years, he has engaged audiences as a professional speaker, and since 2013, he has worked with enterprises to help boost their performance. During that journey, he encountered the good and bad of development strategies.

"It's easy to go onto a stage, talk about what a nice car I own, and give the audience some feel-good advice. But does that lead to lasting change? No, it doesn't. And then you step into a boardroom where executives don't tolerate nonsense. They want facts and data. How do I know what I say is true and works? This helped me realise that productive change needs several ingredients. It needs to be relevant and grounded in real-world case studies and observations. You must show and tell, and start by understanding what the company and its leadership want to achieve."

The digital era emphasises our need for human connection and intuition, and the post-COVID era doubled down on opportunities and problems. It's terrific that we use technology more comfortably to achieve extraordinary results. But there is also a greater urgency to address mental health issues, exhaustion, nihilism, and the quest for purpose.

These elements don't magically arrive from a single philosophy, self-help books, or a boisterous conference presentation. They require a system of leadership that understands how people's needs interconnect with their abilities. Authentic modern leadership embraces the complex modern world but doesn't take it for granted. The best leaders understand that tomorrow's success depends on balancing business and human needs today.

"We have become fixated with the cult of personality, that one person has extraordinary leadership gifts and we need that one person to guide us into the future. This mindset permeates across our businesses and governments. However, my experience working with top leaders and corporates around the world showed me the opposite is true. You get great leaders, but true leadership is a system of values and goals. It's something we all participate in and can take with us, and it's how we ensure stability, resilience, and continuity in a fast-moving era."

Building leadership for the digital era

Govender's career as a performance coach and speaker focuses on helping his clients create that system. By combining real-world examples, research findings, and case studies with his robust presentations and sly sense of humour, Governder has helped organisations in South Africa and across the globe to enhance the quality of their leadership, boost performance, and address staff morale, mental health, and participation. 

His clientele across various sectors, from insurance and banking to mining, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical, have gained from his knowledge and perspective. Leadership is a universal concept, so Govender works to bring his ideas and strategies to as many organisations as possible, from executives to graduates.

"What is it that makes us humans effective? It's our emotional intelligence, intuition, and esprit de corps—our power as a group. I firmly believe that many of our crises result from a leadership crisis. How do we change the picture? Answering that for my clients is my goal, and I get results because I focus on what the client wants. They know their business, and I know how they can get where they need to be by focusing on those qualities that make us uniquely human."

Whether he speaks at conferences, leads employee workshops, engages with graduates, or steps into the gauntlet of executive meetings and boardrooms, for over 20 years, Alvin Govender's passion for leadership as a system has helped dozens of organisations boost their performance and helped their people grow. What can he do for your business and people?

** Alvin Govender is an international performance coach, inspirational speaker, and facilitator.



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