The 2011 Boss of the Year title bearer is Chris Mukoki, head of secured lending credit granting, Standard Bank.
Mukoki, who began his career as the first African to be appointed a lecturer immediately after qualifying from the Soweto College of Education, remained at the College for eight years before entering the banking world as a consultant.
Remaining true to his teaching background, Mukoki’s leadership style is based on sharing knowledge and he is at his best when guiding colleagues to higher knowledge and levels of expertise.
Mukoki showed his business mettle with two big achievements: Top Achiever Winner of the Nedbank CEO award and the Merit Award for Performance Excellence at Standard Bank. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from UNISA and a Secondary Teachers Diploma.
His nominator for Boss of the Year, Johanna Nkabinde, has this to say: “Mr Mukoki is an admirable achiever himself but he shares his winning principles with us. Under his leadership we have clarity of goals and processes and results to be achieved, but he ensures that people are viewed as the true assets of the bank, treating everybody with respect and has created an environment of growth, participation and innovation.”
Leading in SA
Mukoki believes that South Africa needs decisive leaders: “We need people that lead by example and do not believe that popularity is a necessary characteristic of being a leader.
“Leaders also need to understand that economic issues cannot be solved by the creation of more laws but that they need to actually be implemented and monitored; hence the biggest challenge in business is to create an environment where employees also think and act as business people.” Another challenge he identifies is the plethora of social problems that can only be addressed when Government, business and Unions come together and put the interests of the country first.
When it comes to leadership there are several attributes that make a great leader, says Mukoki: “These include listening to what people are saying, always looking for an opportunity to change things for the better as change is the only thing that remains constant and has the power to ensure the continued existence of both individuals and institutions, being innovative and focusing on the clear goals that they have in mind.”
Vision and passion the crucial difference
MTN SA Foundation is the patron and main sponsor of this prestigious Award, which celebrates its 22nd anniversary in 2011. Eunice Maluleke, head of MTN SA Foundation, says: “As a progressive and innovative organisation, MTN SA Foundation would like to play a leading role in acknowledging and celebrating leadership excellence in South Africa.
“We need great business leaders with vision, who can articulate that vision, passionately own it and drive it to completion. Without passion, the position of leadership is meaningless. And passionate leaders inspire others to strive for more and achieve more; they inspire confidence and success in their peers and colleagues.
“Good leaders make people feel that they are at the very heart of the success of the organisation; that they make an essential difference. When that happens, people grow and deliver and go on to inspire others.”
For Mukoki, being nominated for the Boss of the Year Award has made him aware that whatever you do, people are always watching and are ready to give credit when it is due: “This has made me more aware of what I am doing on a day-to-day basis, and I have realised that there are many people out there who fulfill the demands made of good leadership but may never get to be recognised for their efforts unless someone cares enough to nominate them for an Award such as this..”