How South African CEOs Keep their Employees Motivated

South African CEOs

In his book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C Maxwell, makes a profound statement that can either break or make any institution; “Everything rises and falls on leadership”.

Essentially, John C Maxwell places all the success of any organization on the head.

While he does so, he equally places the failure of any company again on the head of the institution.

South Africa has witnessed the meteoric rise of specific companies simply because their CEOs had a Midas touch.

A case in point is Andre de Ruyter who has vast experience in turning around companies he has headed.

The current Eskom boss turned around Nampark a company that was riddled with massive debt.

In a short space of time, he managed to boost staff confidence, and deliver great results.

This article will triangulate five key elements on how CEOs in South Africa keep their employees motivated to deliver high-end results

Relationship Builder

South African CEOs

Understanding the plight of your employees is crucial if you are to build a winning team.

One of the most important things you need to understand from excelling CEOs is that they understand that they are dealing with people coming from different backgrounds.

As such, it is pivotal that they build relations with their employees.

Once the relationship is compact there is no stopping their teams from staying motivated and delivering immeasurable results.

South African CEOs who continue to excel in keeping their employees motivated have mastered the art of going beyond their work purview.

They are able to interact even with lower management on issues that may affect them.

A condolence message to an employee who has lost a loved one, a birthday message, or a congratulatory message on getting married are some of the little things that CEOs do in order to keep their employees motivated.

This simply shows that CEOs do not only view employees just as employees but as family.


South African CEOs

As Steven Covey opened in his book, “The Seven habits of effective leaders”; seek first to understand before being understood.

Most employees feel ostracised by the company the moment they feel misunderstood.

It is the prerogative of the CEO to reach out to his subordinates to understand them and how the company can move forward.

Excelling CEOs always strive to give an ear to the employees.

You miss it the moment you shut your employees out and dismiss all their ideas on how they can contribute to the growth of the company.

There are situations that don’t require heavy handedness by the CEO, situations that require understanding first before taking any decision.

Always remember that understanding births wisdom.

We have often been told that CEOs are wise people but in essence, they have mastered the art of understanding.

Team Player

South African CEOs

Great CEOs know that it is not always about them.

It’s about the team.

CEOs who excel often weave closely-knit teams that produce great results.

Business is a dog eat dog environment.

The moment you concentrate the company’s success to yourself, you are highly likely to fail.

Winning CEOs always use the term WE.

“I” rarely exists in their vocabulary.

When at the workplace, CEOs need to show that everyone has a role to play.

From the security guard to the Managing Director, everyone ought to feel important.

CEOs thrive in giving their employees responsibility.


South African CEOs

I have been studying the South African tourism industry for close to five years and one thing that sets the tourism industry apart from other industries is its ability to consistently rewards employees.

CEOs in that industry know that it is the most effective way clients can receive top-notch treatment by highly motivated team members.

Although to most of the employees, money is the greatest motivation you can give them.

Once every six months, there is no harm in giving your employees a bonus for the great work they do.

Money will always remain the biggest motivator of all time and great CEOS know how to delicately motivate their employees by rewarding them with either money or other benefits that may not be part of their package.

Shared Vision

One of the most important attributes of excelling CEOs is their ability to share the vision and direction of the institution they are leading.

Followers or rather employees always yearn to be led by a firm visionary who has a clarity of thought, a CEO who is able to provide direction for the company.

In my exposition, I quoted John C Maxwell who expertly summarises leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership.

Employees are enthralled by knowledgeable leaders.

Effective leaders harness different skills set in building a movement that is able to make profits.

Most of the successful companies in South Africa have CEOs who know how to capture the imagination of their employees.

As such, CEOs allow employees to dream and see the bigger picture. Charisma is central in executing this.

However, you cant share the vision if you don’t have the conviction.

Lead from the forefront. Allow everyone to have a shared understanding of the business and you will be set for dizzy heights.


The above-mentioned nuggets are not cast in stone.

The nuggets form the crux of how CEOs keep the employees motivated and delivering great results.

Always keep in mind that CEOs are human beings who are dealing with fellow human beings.

There is a need for a correlation of ideas and certain principles to grow any company.

If you endeavour to grow your company to phenomenal levels with a motivated workforce, you need to apply these factors.

Leadership is complex but understanding yourself and the people around you will allow your organisation to flourish!



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