Looking for a new leader? It’s all in the stars

Beware: the author and Helen Zille are both Pisceans. (Image: Zodiac Images.net.)

ARE you, along with the rest of the country, looking for a great new leader for your organisation? Perhaps you are after a dynamically direct, no-nonsense type who will take charge and run your business like a smoothly synchronised scrum or a deftly delivered dance? In that case, you probably need an Aries, like Springbok rugby captain, John Smit or president Jacob Zuma.

Or maybe your organisation is whimpering for someone who excels at shepherding the flock? A loyalist with a sympathetic ear and a deeply caring nature? It follows then, that you should select a Cancer, like Nelson Mandela.

Possibly though, you need a great manager of people and wielder of power who can see straight through others to their hidden motives. Then you should seek out a Scorpio like Cyril Ramaphosa, Helen Suzman, Nicky Newton-King and Hillary Clinton. And, if you want someone with genius ideas who can, however, be taxingly detached at times, an Aquarius leader – such as Trevor Manuel and Maria Ramos – would fit the bill.

On the other hand, perhaps you need a person who inspires true creativity. Barack Obama – like Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro and former minister of water affairs and forestry, Lindiwe Hendricks – is a Leo, and people (particularly his supporters) say Leos make wonderful leaders. In fact, the claim is supported by Steve Weiss, author of the book, Signs of Success: The Remarkable Power of Business Astrology. Weiss writes “creative entrepreneurship is the true stamp of the Leo leader, frequently to the point of personality cult as well as to fortune and fame.” He adds that other Leos include Martha Stewart, Magic Johnson and Mick Jagger.

Zoning in on zodiac signs to select a new leader? I’m not serious, am I? Of course, I am.

Here’s the thing: Companies spend obscene amounts on behavioural tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment programme to check out the psychology of potential leaders and to ascertain whether they fit the big cheese bill. I recently discovered however, that the Myers-Briggs test is based on the research of psychologist Carl Jung, which is, itself, based on Jung’s studies of astrology. So, it figures that I say, let go of the angst, analyses and uncertainty associated with finding the right leader. Throw away the tests, charts and graphs, and simply ask applicants, “So, what’s your sign?”

Weiss says that astrology is nothing new to some of the world’s most successful and powerful executives and entrepreneurs: “Used for everything from forecasting to market research to talent strategies, the principles and practices of astrology have helped business greats from J P Morgan to Donna Karan turn their brands into bona fide empires.”

It’s so simple. Capricorns, for example, are “inclined to the more conservative position that a happy destiny is the result of a hard, well-managed, socially-sanctioned climb.” They also “admire a stiff upper lip”. Local examples of Capricorns include Alec Irwin, and bankers Tom Boardman and Paul Harris.

Gemini leaders are allegedly the original multi-taskers, orchestrating the business of multi-nationals (and nations) during wine-tastings and conferences in places like Japan. They admire intelligence and curiosity. But, while mostly cheerful and sharp-witted, they can switch to dark and crotchety at the drop of a hat. Thabo Mbeki is a Gemini.

Then there’s are the Pisceans, like me, Helen Zille, Raymond Ackerman, F W de Klerk, Jackie Selebi and Tokyo Sexwale. As leaders we are “usually real sweethearts, who may be overly accommodating to employees’ needs and sensitivities”. What? But wait, there is hope for us: “There is a steely side to Pisces, which gives them the discipline to be so creative”. Ah, I like that, but it goes on: “Pisceans will appreciate it if you help them stay organised though, as it is not their strong suit”.

Humph! Pisceans disorganised? What a load of hogwash. Bring back the psychometric testing, I say, supported, I am sure, by anyone who knows Zille.

(This was first published in my column, Back In The Box, which appeared in the June 2008 edition of Business Day’s Management Review.)

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About Administrator

Freelance writer based in Hout Bay near Cape Town in South Africa.
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