Diverse talent solutions. African Partnerships you can depend on.

Top leadership tips from Maslow’s Pyramid

Although published in 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow’s paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, remains immensely popular, especially in the business world. It describes human needs as a pyramid  consisting of five tiers of complexity, ranging from basic survival at the bottom to sophisticated self-expression at the top. It has become famously known as Maslow’s Pyramid.

However, it’s also a great model for understanding the role leadership plays in needs fulfilment and how that can help us retain, develop and motivate employees. Since people are more likely to follow leaders who allow them to scale the Pyramid faster, it’s an excellent idea to review it from that perspective.

The levels are: physiological (nutrition, shelter), safety (security, self-protection), love and belonging (family, friendship, community), esteem (achievement, recognition), and self-actualisation (living one’s highest values).

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Leadership is like lettuce … let’s turn over a new leaf

Leadership has never been in such high demand across commerce and industry. The need for it drives almost every interaction between talent professionals and the top tier of organisations in industries from agriculture to high tech and from major corporates to SOEs.

One response is to simplify the quest by turning leadership into a numbers game. Consult recent HR research or business publications and numbers dominate … the 10 traits of inspirational leaders, the six key attributes of organisational leadership, the five must-have qualities of great leaders, and so it goes on.

However, leadership is not simple arithmetic.

The growth of individual leadership skills and development of leadership teams take time.

Growth has to be nurtured. So, for leadership insights don’t look at paint by numbers, look at something requiring care, patience and constant attention. A lettuce, for instance.

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#LockdownLessons: Keep it flexible, find the balance and remember - you're not alone

As part of our #LockdownLessons series, Bizcommunity is reaching out to South Africa's top industry players to share their experience of the current Covid-19 crisis, how their organisations are navigating these unusual times, where the challenges and opportunities lie, and their industry outlook for the near future.


Here we talk to Michelle Moss, director of assessments at Signium Africa, to get her take.

BizcommunityHow has the Covid-19 lockdown changed your typical working day?

Michelle Moss: The team has been working harder than ever in terms of longer hours and quicker delivery for our clients. We save time by not travelling to work and meetings during the day and that time is now being spent behind our screens. The downside is that we are probably driving ourselves too hard and we need to find a sustainable pace. We are a people business and while we are still interacting with people all the time, we are doing it virtually rather than in person.

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All work and no play is a no-win for business

All work and no play is a no-win for business

Did your employees enjoy the chance to play over December? Why stop them now just because business has started up again? Current research suggests that organisations that provide opportunities for their staff to participate in playful, fun activities inside the workplace, reap various rewards. These benefits extend to the employees, their teams and the company itself.

Games, or any other stimulating activity done for the purpose of amusement, can actually help workers become more productive. Even if it’s just a foosball table in the canteen, a short recess from work for a lively match with a colleague can break the monotony of repetitive duties or alleviate the stress of continuous problem solving. A play-friendly workspace can therefore refresh staff, boost morale and increase job satisfaction.

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Sourcing Executives in COVID-19 Stricken Africa


In South Africa, we use the term “ubuntu”. It doesn’t just apply to business but every aspect of life. It is a social contract based on the philosophy that if my community thrives, I thrive. Other African countries use different words to describe ubuntu, but the spirit is the same: I am because we are.

Since it describes the uniquely African approach of embracing mutual prosperity, it inevitably also encompasses our way of doing business. We’re in business for each other, and long-term relationships are favoured over making a “quick buck”.

So it’s no wonder that building rapport and strengthening bonds socially is a highlight of doing business in Africa. One must be prepared - and enjoy the occasion - to spend a good amount of time discussing personal matters, like one’s family life, health, opinions, values or beliefs, before getting down to the deal.

Sourcing Executives in COVID-19, Bafana Kubheka, Tale Spin Media, The Skills Portal, Channel Wise

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Executive Tips For Valentine’s Day

Executive Tips For Valentine’s Day

Once again, it’s that time of the year, when Cupid reaches into his quiver of romance and aims his golden arrows of love at the hearts of executives everywhere. Of course, planning your Valentine’s Day agenda well in advance with your loved one’s happiness in mind will further his quest immensely. To help you make the most of it, our Directors at Signium Africa offer some last-minute tips.

Start with the right attitude – Annelize van Rensburg, Director: Executive Search

Yes, it’s true that the economy is poor, it’s only the second month of a demanding year and, as an executive, you need to concentrate on delivering the best performance you can. However, love knows no bounds and, luckily for you, February 14th falls on a Friday this year, giving you the whole weekend to focus on what’s really important. Start early, and be sure to fill the day with little surprises to show you are thinking about your partner the whole time, even when you are at work.

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Why transparent leadership is clearly important now

If we’re learning anything from the current crisis, it’s that legacy authoritarian-style leadership has no place in businesses constrained by the COVID-19 virus.

Even before the pandemic, the world was demanding a more collaborative and consultative style of leadership based on transparency. Today, transparency is so much more critical to an organisation’s survival, as an attribute of both those who lead it and the creative culture that drives it forward.

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CQ is the new EQ for executives

Second only to emotional intelligence (EQ), cultural intelligence (CQ) is fast becoming one of the most in demand skills for executives in today’s culturally diverse world of business.

The growing need for CQ is just one of the consequences of globalisation. It’s true that companies are setting up more bases in foreign countries than ever. But their own societies are simultaneously becoming more culturally diverse, as foreign citizens migrate in search of better career opportunities and lifestyles.

This means that culture is no longer a minor concern for executives. It’s a strategic imperative, and high-CQ leadership is needed to intelligently address this trend.

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Signium Africa

Diverse talent solutions.
African partnerships you
can depend on.


Head Office

23 Fricker Road,
Illovo, Sandton,
South Africa,

Satelite Office

Cape Town

Contact Details

Tel: +27 (0) 11 771 4800
Email: info@signium.co.za

Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa), a leading executive recruitment company based in South Africa offering head-hunting and leadership consulting services in sub-Saharan Africa. www.signium.co.za

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