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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


KNOBBS, C.; GERRYTS, E.; KAGOGO, T.  and  NESER, M.. The Sasol Engineering Leadership Academy (Part of the Sasol Chair in Safety Health and Environment initiative in the Department of Mining Engineering, University of Pretoria). J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.12, pp.979-986. ISSN 2411-9717.

Contrary to the way it is often portrayed, the average organization or company is far from being a cold, calculating machine. It is actually a highly emotive place where interaction with people is a fundamental part of its ability to perform satisfactorily. The company, through its employers, expects employees, including new graduates, to have the ability to cope adequately with this emotive environment. The graduate is frequently unable to meet this expectation because he/she has not been developed to do so. Technical knowledge is his only asset. This deficiency manifests itself in leadership shortcomings, both intrapersonal and interpersonal. Further analysis reveals a deficiency in three elements of leadership - self-awareness, oral communication, and an ability to work cooperatively in teams. To address these three elements of leadership, Sasol Coal, a subsidiary of the big petrochemical company in South Africa, sponsored a leadership programme at the University of Pretoria for their final-year bursary students in the faculty of Engineering. This programme, the Sasol Engineering and Leadership Academy (SELA), consisted of a number of interventions designed to address the three areas of self-awareness, oral communication, and cooperative behaviour in teams. These interventions varied from an intrapersonal nature to interpersonal aspects. Psychometric assessments were followed by experiential modules dealing with the three constructs. SELA was evaluated at the end of the year. The results showed a positive shift in the main constructs of self-awareness, communications, and cooperation. This was measured quantitatively and qualitatively. Conclusions were drawn and recommendations for improving the programme were proposed.

Keywords : leadership; self-awareness; communication; group work.

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