27 August 2021 | Story Lacea Loader | Photo Supplied
Dr Millard Arnold, UFS Council Member and Senior Consultant at Bowman Gilfillan.

Dr Millard Arnold, Council Member of the University of the Free State (UFS) and Senior Consultant at Bowman Gilfillan, recently contributed to a noteworthy book on leadership and a book on responsive universities. His experience as a journalist and later as a seasoned leader and keynote speaker positioned him well to participate in the book: The Book Every Upcoming, New, and Seasoned Leader Needs to Read – Lessons From Leading Business Minds and Thought Leaders. 

From surviving to thriving

Incorporating collective leadership wisdom for both the leaders of tomorrow and the leaders of today, the book is full of lessons, insights, pep talks, advice, and direction for building your own style and approach to great leadership, and not to shy away from the ecstasy (and sometimes agony) of becoming a significant leader. Packed with the contributions of 48 authors, the book is the antidote to the lack of mentorship in the field. Authors include Brand Pretorius, Edwin Cameron, Marnus Broodryk, Nyimpini Mabunda, and Roze Phillips – to name a few. 

Giving problems to solutions

Dr Arnold’s contribution focuses on fishing out the valuable leadership principles from the sea of leaderships that we are drowning in. “I have found myself in positions of leadership and have had to develop a number of thoughts on leadership which have helped guide me in determining how best to lead,” he writes. This guided him to discover the true essence of leadership, which is problem solving. He asserts that “if there are no difficulties to overcome, no problems to resolve, the leadership is unnecessary”. Leadership has its genesis in problems, he believes. 

Effective leaders make things happen

Among the profound insights that Dr Arnold shares, he highlights the notion that great leaders must understand the problem and have the vision to see the solution. Inevitably, this necessitates the leader to take some risks and to persuade others to get on board. This is only possible if the leader has integrity and ultimately deliver on the promise made. He advises leaders to “ask good questions, listen to the answers, assess the reality, be empathic, and spend a great deal of time on self-reflection”.

Universities must remain relevant 

Dr Arnold also contributed a chapter titled, Poverty, Inequity and Decolonisation: Are Business Schools Responsive to the Challenge? in a book by Chris Brink, The Responsive University and the Crisis in South Africa. The book brings together contributions on the issue of responsiveness from several international university leaders. Dr Arnold’s chapter presents an overview of the impact of colonialism and capitalism on the African mind set and stresses how different South African business schools have responded to the task of being responsive to the challenges confronting the country. It argues that, if carefully managed, business schools can, and should be, vehicles to promote and facilitate positive and constructive change.

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