Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Creating an environment to grow leaders.

Jack Welch said; “before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

Yet to grow yourself and others, the environment for such growth has to be established.  Successful innovation doesn't just happen overnight - it needs to be nurtured. The healthier the environment, the greater the results will be.

The environment in which we find ourselves creates behavioral patterns in human development; either positive or negative depending on the factors we are exposed to.

To ensure that the experience is positive, the following factors need to be taken into consideration when you want to grow leaders in a working environment:

Equipment and facilities
The equipment and facilities that workers use to perform their tasks should be in good working order and regularly maintained.  It should comply to all standards they need in order for them to do their work thoroughly.

The workspace should be an expression of not just the corporate culture but also that of the employees, a place they would want to spend more than 5 or 6 hours of their day.

Conflict resolution
Conflict in the workplace can seriously reduce productivity. Failure to properly resolve conflict is even worse than the conflict itself because it secures a habitual environment for conflict in the future.

Freedom of expression
Freedom of expression goes further than just expressing thoughts and ideas.  This freedom should allow them to express themselves in terms of religion, gender, ethnicity as well as culture.   This will create an environment of respect, confidence and security.

Members of the workspace have the talents and abilities as well as potential of acquiring great leadership skills.  One way of developing this with maximum results would be to encourage employees to seek innovation in their work. Here are a few ways in which you can create an environment conducive to innovation:
·        Reward creativity,
·        Support diversity amongst employees and
·        Establish good relationships with your people.

Remember this, leaders do not create followers, they create leaders and when it comes to the working environment or any other, you need to create a habitat conducive for others to grow in.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Social media: a voice for the youth.

Social media has grown to such extent that it is a profound and integral part of our daily lives, something that we cannot live without.
Ask yourself this question, what were you doing with your free time, 4 years ago ans what are you doing with your free time now?  This might be more relevant to you, if you are between the ages of 15 to 36.

The reason for this might be simpler than one might think, for one it is because social media is easily accessible.  If we take a look at the mobile usage amongst South African youth, 72% of those between the ages of 15 and 24 have cell phones, according to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.  
This technology enables them to go onto their social media platform easily and without hassle.  For example, according to Social Bakers, the largest age group using Facebook in South Africa is between 25-34, followed by users between the ages of 18-24 and 90% of them are accessing this platform from their mobile device.

The biggest reason for the success of social media is not just because it is easily accessible, but also because it gives the youth, and everyone else, a voice that is loud and clear, one that is heard.  It gives them a chance to express themselves in ways that so many disapprove of, especially in public places such as schools, where students get judged by other students or people who don’t let them express themselves. If someone were to judge you on Facebook, twitter, etc. you can easily delete them which many can’t do outside of social media without the risk of being bullied.

There is also a sense of power and expression that builds self-esteem; they can converge with whoever they want whenever they want to. It can also be a way out for so many people, not just for the youth, who struggle in life, those who have no friends or aren’t as social as those around them. It gives them a chance to meet new people and find friends online, which they couldn’t have done due to being shy or nervous.

Social media also helps strengthen relationships. Many people have friends whom they have not seen since school, or who have moved away and this platform gives them the possibility of staying connected with one another.

Even though social media is sometimes perceived as just being a cool tool for young people, providing them with swift and easy means of communication it is also a platform to build their self-esteem. People are still quick to judge the legitimate and informed uses of social media platforms. However, having quick worldwide lines of communication predominantly involving our youth, is exactly what is needed, to reach, activate and involve them in matters concerning our environment, education and social well being.

Remember the youth are our future and if we want them to be part of the conversation, then social media is where we need to start the conversation.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Youth: A Catalyst For Educational Change

It is always interesting to notice how youth culture and behavior is shaping education. With the rise of the Internet we have seen an introduction of various new resources to class rooms as well as a variety of new study directions to accommodate the influx of youths who want to work in these fields. Here is a quick breakdown of five ways youth have become catalysts for change in education:

Change #1 – The introduction of technology in the classroom
The University of Johannesburg was one of the first South African universities to introduce compulsory tablets for all first year students. Many schools also include interactive white boards in the class room to enhance the classroom experience. Youth enjoy learning by means of technology and this encourages engagement and access to even more information.

Change #2 – The need for new ways to gain an education
Many universities and colleges choose to offer a variety of short online  courses  that students can take to earn credits toward a degree or just to enrich their skills or develop their existing skills.

Change #3 – Learning beyond the classroom
Many students enjoy taking their studies beyond the classroom, choosing to view lectures online in their own time, engaging in student forums or engaging with and sharing a variety of study materials. Institutions naturally have to make provision for this, allowing students to be able to supplement their studies with these kind of resources.

Change #4 – Enriched resources
Whether prescribed textbooks are available for tablet, or whether an institution chooses to engage students in a virtual space, many students prefer rich content. Youth have become accustomed to second screen experiences – they choose to tweet while they watch TV or Google matters of interest while watching the Discovery Channel. The need for rich resources has never been greater. Academic, literary and cultural references can be at hand when you refer to them and eliminate the fact that many students will forget to look up a reference in the library.

Change #5 – The type of courses on offer
The popularity of the Internet provides a variety of new opportunities and career paths. Many of those who are specialists in the field are young working people and this is but one example of how new technology and social advancements can shape the need for new departments in education… popular culture is no longer something you experience on MTV, but you can learn about it to ensure that you can include the best approaches in your marketing attempts. The rise in popularity of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Mxit among youth ensures that “best practices” are introduced in a syllabus as well.

Youth will always remain a dynamic part of our society and with the investment in youth and how they contribute to the future of South Africa, it is only natural that they play a role in how education is shaped.