There are possibly a number of key differences between African and Western leadership styles: African leaders sometimes tend to be more community-oriented, while Western leaders may tend t be more individualistic. African leaders are also typically more humble and selfless, while Western leaders may be more ambitious, competitive and cutthroat.
There are a few different perspectives on whether or not there are two sets of rules for leaders in South Africa. Some people believe that there are two distinct sets of rules, one for Western-style leaders and one for African-style leaders. They argue that Western leaders are more likely to have hard conversations with their staff, while African leaders are more likely to avoid conflict and maintain harmony.
Others believe that there is a single set of rules for leaders in South Africa, regardless of their cultural background. They argue that all leaders, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality, should be able to have difficult conversations with their staff when necessary. They believe that avoiding conflict can actually be harmful to a team or organization, and that it is important for leaders to be able to address problems head-on.
Ultimately, whether or not there are two sets of rules for leaders in South Africa is a matter of opinion. There is no right or wrong answer, and it is up to each individual leader to decide how they want to interact with their staff.
A training provider I spoke to believes that African leaders generally do not want to have hard conversations with senior staff. This may be true in some cases, but it is not true in all cases. There are many African leaders who are able to have difficult conversations with their staff when necessary.
It is important to remember that there is no single "African style" of leadership. There are many different cultures and traditions across Africa, and each leader will approach their role in a unique way. Some leaders may be more direct and confrontational, while others may be more indirect and avoidant. There is no right or wrong way to lead, as long as the leader is able to be effective and achieve their goals.
If you are a leader in South Africa, it is important to be aware of the different cultural norms and expectations that may exist. It is also important to be able to adapt your leadership style to different situations. If you need to have a difficult conversation with a staff member, it is important to do so in a respectful and constructive way. You should also be prepared for the possibility that the conversation may not go as smoothly as you would like.
Ultimately, in today's business world there is no one style that fits all and business leaders need to understand and embrace this to get the best out of ALL their staff and not create silos is essential to management.