Leadership versus organisational performance within the Department of Foreign Affairs.
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The process of leading and managing the worldwide network of Embassies and High Commissions within the South African Department of Foreign Affairs is extremely challenging. It requires knowledge of globalisation and the utilisation of information technology. This knowledge would enable leaders to respond more rapidly and across geographic boundaries, thereby enhancing efficiency within the Department of Foreign Affairs. The speed, accuracy and efficiency of the staff will, however, depend increasingly on leadership as a guided process, which brings out the best in subordinates, exposing their creative talents, skills and qualities that will enhance the image of South Africa, internationally. In this study, an overview of public administration will be given, as the Department of Foreign Affairs is a public institution and is governed by the normative guidelines of public administration. The theories of leadership will be outlined and evaluated. These theories date from the 1950's up to contemporary studies in leadership, which illustrates the changing patterns of leading with changing times and the utilisation of technology in task accomplishment. An overall structure of the Department of Foreign Affairs is outlined, tracing South Africa's foreign policy from the apartheid era to post 1994. The study also demonstrates the effects of changed government policy and its impact on the functioning and makeup of the Department. Theories of organisational performance and quality management, as well as the principles of "Batho Pele" zie. outlined, and their relevance to the functioning of the Department of Foreign Affairs, is given impetus. In this study, research was conducted among sixty officials of different ranks at ten different South African Missions across the world. The results of the survey indicate the dire need for leaders who understand the importance of leadership, and how their leadership styles impact on organisational efficiency and service delivery. A range of recommendations are proposed for diplomatic leaders to personally take responsibility for creating an environment where routine jobs become more meaningful, where the human spirit becomes liberated, and where people are transformed from positions of working to live to living to work!