Claudio presenting at PMI event

‘Warrior Leadership’ for the Project Management Institute’s 50th Anniversary

The project Management Institute (PMI) recently celebrated their 50th anniversary in style at the De Zalze Lodge, with the WTC’s Claudio Chiste invited as guest speaker to present a talk on Warrior Leadership at the PMI’s Western Cape Chapter (other guest speakers included the co-founder of Snapscan and Luno Crypto, Carl van Wyk). The highly regarded PMI, with its head office in the USA, is regarded as the gold standard among project managers, well known for publishing the Project Manager’s Body of Knowledge, which describes the practices that are common to “most project, most of the time”.

The primary objective for project managers is considered to be the ability to a complete a project which complies with the client’s objectives. This is not possible without teamwork. The team need to work according to specific goals, meeting criteria at a specified time. The team assigned to the project may be likened to a tribe; a community of people, which are clearly bounded and stable. The leader of a tribe would need to possess certain qualities to ensure sustained success, a blend of traditional leadership (ensuring survival) and servant leadership (to avoid the temptation of usurpation by their followers), with a focus on engendering a sense of leadership among each member of the tribe by taking ownership of their assigned responsibility, no matter what the level of “importance”. In the ecosystem of a tribe, all tasks could have an impact. Not waking up in time for the hunt could impact could result in the tribe not having a meal on that day… Enter the concept of Warrior Leadership. There is an enormous amount of leadership theory in the public domain, warrior leadership takes a radically fresh look at leadership, looking at it in its “pure” form, cutting to the bone of what it takes to lead and succeed. 

Third from left: Carl van Wyk (Co-founder of Snapscan and Luno Crypto)
Fourth from left: Claudio Chiste (with host Melvin Engelbrecht)
Seventh from left: Joubert Tulleken (civil engineer)

Group Photo: Some PMI Members pose with Speakers and Guests

The PMI’s Ayanda More with Claudio

Staring in the Eyes of a Warrior Leader: King Moshoeshoe
The thought of a warrior often evokes images of a man clad only in animal skins, running around with a spear and shield in hand. This however is to be regarded merely as a symbol of the power of human spirit, to overcome obstacles and adversity, with primary reliance upon a strong mind-body connection, not having the comforts and luxuries often associated with the world of convenience we live in today.

Our history abounds with examples of warrior leaders which adapted and overcame, prevailing in the face of adversity. Moshoeshoe, being a fine example of a leader who built a powerful tribe from scratch, displaying well centred warrior leadership. He reportedly took in the destitute and down and outers, on condition they shared his values and recognised him as their paramount chief, building his tribe into what is today the Basotho nation. His nous for strategy ensured that attacks were repelled from mighty foes such as Queen Mmanthatisi of the Tlokwa, Ndebele (formerly part of the powerful Zulu kingdom headed by King Shaka), the Boers and British. Even after the fiercest of battles, he was known to show diplomacy to his foes, winning over hearts and minds.

Based on Jung’s archetypes, it can be said Moshoeshoe displayed centred, well-balanced warrior-leader characteristics

Christine Malan

‘Warrior Leadership’ Development Programme for the military

The SA Navy’s Military Training for Ratings Part 2 (MTR2) had WTC’s ‘Warrior Leadership’ course as part of their formative training.

Leadership, simply put, is about leading people. In most organisations this typically tends to manifest itself as the leader-follower model. There is a well-known saying which I used to hear leaders of men say, “either you follow, or you get out the way.”

In a military organisation, the general is the most senior leader. Legendary military strategist, Sun Tzu, believed there were no bad soldiers, only bad generals. After a battle, if the performance was not to his satisfaction, he would reportedly have his generals executed, not his soldiers.

In the Art of War, Sun Tzu backs this up by stating, “When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct… the result is utter disorganisation.”

David Marquet, Commander of the nuclear submarine Santa Fe, decided to reject this leader-follower model, and to implement his own “leader-leader” approach among his submarine crew. He contends that leaders should be at every level of an organization and strived to change the mindset of sailors trained in the leader-follower style throughout their naval education. This boils down to taking ownership. “I don’t know of a finer model of this kind of empowering leadership than Captain Marquet.” Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.

When leaders take ownership, taking personal responsibility for failures, subordinates see this being emulated throughout the chain of command. When leaders drive their teams to achieve a higher standard of performance, it’s not what you preach, it’s what people see you doing and also tolerating. When setting expectations, if substandard performance is acceptable without anyone being held accountable – the poor performance becomes the new standard. Essentially engendering a culture of trying to fix problems, rather than trying to figure out who to blame.

In the words of Nelson Mandela “lead from the back – let others believe they are in front”.

As the cohort of MTR2’s embark on this new phase of their naval careers, entering “middle management” roles, the first step before implementing this leadership model is to know thyself, implementing “personal leadership” within their own lives. Knowing yourself, in terms of what your strengths and limitations are, what stimulates you, what your boundaries are and what drives you ensure that you can live a congruent life, expressed as authentic leadership. Mastery of self (personal leadership) begins before of all else.

Personal leadership
Authentic leadership requires one to take total responsibility to discover one’s own destiny. The starting point of which is to know what your personal values are, having yourself validate these – without seeking outside validation. Your values form the foundation of your behaviour.

“I found it (the WTC leadership course) very inspiring and it helped me revise a few aspects in my life in order to grow.” Leading Seaman Christine Malan.

WTC’s Claudio Chiste said, “Much of the self-defence (Krav Maga) and mental strength techniques are to serve these graduates not only to get through this process, but to also serve them in the everyday life later in life well beyond this graduation day”.

In addition to self-defence, the team were taught about the “Warrior Ethos” and that to overcome adversity one needs to have “fighting spirit”, therefore the self-defence also served as a metaphor for the ability to overcome: A valuable lesson for these youth who are only at the start of their adult life.

Warrior Leadership training for military leaders in the modern era is not a new concept, with this being well established in the US Armed Forces: