Leadership for markets

In his excellent book ,In the Driving Seat – Lessons in Leadership, Brand Pretorius quotes Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric: “Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

These words of wisdom are certainly applicable to our markets and market agencies. Our industry is going through major changes, the success of which hinges on good leadership. Will our leaders rise to the challenge? Unfortunately, the bureaucratic environment of a municipality is not conducive to visionary and proactive leadership. Instead, politics and personal agendas flourish.

Rising above it
On the bright side, one or two market managers have risen above the bedlam of bureaucratic ineptitude. Somehow they seem to have found a way to get things done. But we shall need many more of them to make things happen in the years ahead. At national level, the department of agriculture is producing some dedicated leaders who are driving the changes taking place in the fresh produce sector.

They are putting in considerable effort to upgrade and transform our markets, and their commitment is rubbing off on market managers and several of their municipal colleagues. There’s little doubt about it: real change starts with leaders. Thererafter the focus can shift to staff and issues such as customer relations.

Market agencies
Market agency managers also need to adapt. The evidence is compelling: change is taking place whether market agency bosses like it or not. How they respond to these changes will be the key to their survival. It is encouraging to see those
who are displaying the requisite leadership skills to take their agencies forward. Unfortunately, there are still too few. But I have no doubt that, in time, more market agency managers will make the necessary changes and provide the inspirational leadership the sector will need in the years ahead.

The current leadership of the Institute of Market Agents of South Africa is setting the example and this is how it should be.