The art of leadership for improved team performance beyond expectations in Umgungundlovu Social Development Department.
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Public sector leadership is crucial in the social services sector that is concerned with citizens’ well-being. Lack of effective leadership could result in organisations that operate in this sector becoming stagnant, advancing slowly and losing their sense of direction. Leaders in the public sector need to embrace contemporary leadership strategies and techniques that enable them to meet the ever changing and complex demands of the citizens, whilst accomplishing government objectives. The objective of the study was to understand how leadership strategies foster improved team performance in the uMgungundlovu Department of Social Development, KwaZulu-Natal. This study adopted a pragmatic research paradigm that takes the view that the best research methods are those that help to most effectively answer the research question. A total of 140 junior and middle level leaders and non-managerial employees who participated in this study were selected using simple random sampling technique for the quantitative part while 20 managers were selected using purposive sampling for the qualitative part. A mixed method was adopted, with a quantitative survey study design and qualitative investigative approach. Data were gathered by means of a semi-structured questionnaire, as well as interviews with managers, middle and junior level leaders. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics while qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings revealed that whilst the transactional leadership style had a positive outcome on performance, transformational leadership had a remarkable influence in enhancing team performance. The study thus concludes that a transformational leadership strategy could be the most appropriate approach to improve team performance in the Department of Social Development.