March 10, 2015

The Universality of the Care and Growth Criteria

On the 12th of November I attended a workshop for a production team conducted at the Lonmin Vulindlela Training Centre. The facilitator was a really talented young trainer by the name of Simon Mashaba. The piece of the process that I observed was a two-hour exploration of some of the key ideas in the Care and Growth Model so that the crews involved could get some clarity of what they could expect from their supervisors.In the course of a piece of process, very reminiscent of what we do in a Care and Growth leadership programme that we would conduct for senior executives, Simon asked the group (which I would guess to number about 50 people) to call out what they would require of a boss if the were to work for him because they really wanted to. Over the course of 15 minutes a number of men stood up, would say something in Fanakalo and would go on to explain what they meant. Simon then asked the group to translate what the person had said into a number of languages, primarily Xhosa, Tswana. Finally what the man said was translated into English.

The criteria that were specified were completely consistent with the Care and Growth criteria. As I sat watching the group in the hands of this young master I could not help to reflect on the incredulity that I experience from senior groups when I indicate that the Care and Growth criteria that they identify for the ideal boss I first discovered among semiliterate mine employees on South African Gold Mines. This young man had again vindicated the argument.

This serves to demonstrate that the criteria that people hold universally for the ideal boss are that the boss should care for them and grow them. This universality is significant. If you work for someone because you want to you implicitly give that person the right to ask you to do things. You therefore give that person the right to exercise power over you. These Care and Growth criteria are therefore the universal criteria for legitimate power.

The first relationship of power one has with anyone else is with one’s parents, and in so far it is a first relationship it helps us to understand the essence or principle of this kind of relationship. We have an intuitive understanding that there is a relationship between the first and the principle. In the parenting relationship there are two people, a big one and a small one. The requirement of the big one is very specific; they should care for and grow the small one. Any relationship of power is therefore legitimate if the aim of that relationship is the care and growth of the subordinate.


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