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Water in "Fire" churches

Mogotsi D. Baloyi

In the 1997 movie, "Anaconda," there is a scene where the ferry transporting the expedition team deep into the Amazon to study the elusive Shirishama Indians, comes to an artificial barrier mid-river.

John Sarone, an enigmatic and colorful character played by Jon Voight, whose trade was trapping live anacondas, proposed blowing up the barrier with dynamite so as to greatly reduce the distance to the hospital to which they were carrying one of the team members.

As Gary, played by Owen Wilson, was helping Sarone tie dynamite sticks to the barrier, he suddenly reacted to something moving beneath the water. "There's something in the water," said he. "Yes, there is," replied Sarone. "There is something in the water."

I want to take up my discourse this week from that simple statement made by a startled character in a movie, the response to which was, "Yes, there is." There is something in the water. There has to be, if the ubiquity of water usage in religion is anything to go by.

However, for my submission, I will preoccupy myself not with water employment in religion as a whole, but only within the commonly termed Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement, lately derisively called in these parts of the world as "Fire" Churches. You won't be long in these Churches before you come across the use of water – from drinking, to spraying, to bathing, and everything else in-between.

This water can be "normal" water in a bottle or any container, to specially branded water in bottles of varying sizes and sometimes each labeled for specific uses. The packaged water is typically still water. I'm not aware of the use of sparkling water, although you must expect anything these days.

But I digress. Now, this water comes under many names, the most common being, "anointing water," popularized and introduced into the Pentecostal-Charismatic mainstream by Nigerian Prophet, Temitope Balogun Joshua of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations. Other names are, "holy water," which is perhaps the oldest name for it, and also, "living water." These are the most common names of water used in "Fire" Churches.

This, as I have mentioned, is your typical bottled water you can find at your local supermarket. Nothing fancy. Water is water. The only difference is that it is rebranded with either the picture of the "Prophet," his title, the name of his organization, and sometimes a scripture verse, and intended usage and instructions. For those who want to add a touch of exclusivity, the whole bottling and packaging is done by the Church organization.

And still for those who want to bury the competition, the water would be said to be imported straight from the River Jordan in Israel! Game over to the competition. You can't beat that. Water from the River Jordan, in which Naaman was cleansed, is the Real McCoy! Most Catholics are familiar with the practice of entering their church, dipping the finger(s) of their right hand in the font with holy water, and making the Sign of the Cross. Catholics repeat this ritual upon leaving the church.

The holy water in the font is "holy" only insofar as it has been blessed (or sanctified) by a priest. The water itself is not magic. Its power depends on the prayers, faith and devotion of the person who uses it. The Catholics believe that making the Sign of the Cross with holy water, one expresses faith in God as Father, God as Son, and God as Holy Spirit and asks God's blessing in the name of the same three divine persons.

This ritual action of blessing oneself also serves as a reminder of one's baptism. Water, itself, has a long association with God's saving deeds. With water all things are washed and nourished. Water is a life giving source for all of nature and vegetation. Water flowed from the rock as God's gift to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. The water of the Red Sea was divided to liberate God's people from slavery.

Jesus was baptized in the waters of the Jordan. He came walking on the water to calm the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Ritual washings were required for the Jewish people before entering the temple; and, of course, this prefigured baptism. In the theology of the Catholic Church, holy water is considered as sacramental as are crucifixes, medals, pictures of saints, rosaries, ashes and palms. Only when blessed are these to be thought of as holy.

The Catholic Church also views as holy candles, Bibles, ashes and palms that are blessed. All such "blessed" objects are to be treated with reverence and respect; and when they are broken or damaged or no longer usable, they are to be disposed of by pouring into a special hand basin in the sacristy (sacrarium) or buried but never thrown into the garbage. It is believed that the use of holy water dates to the first century, and even some sources relate its early usage to St. Matthew, although written documentation about its usage date to the third or fourth century.

In the Catholic Tradition, holy water is used for the purpose of baptisms, blessing of persons, places and objects, or as protection against evil and danger. Holy water is also used by the priest to sprinkle the congregation during the entrance rite of the Mass.

It is used by priests when blessing homes, animals, places of business, automobiles, and objects of devotion such as medals, rosaries, etc. But how and why did the Pentecostals and Charismatics join the water brigade? Why the fascination and preoccupation with water from the very people who, not too long ago, bashed and mocked traditional Africanist Churches for using water?

As recently as the late '90s, followers of "Fire" Churches would never be caught dead using water as a faith medium. It was looked down upon, and those "garment" Churches that used water were the butt of jokes and subjects of ridicule. Fast-forward to this decade and "Fire" Churches churn more liters of water per day than all these "Water" Churches combined per month! I lie not! There are some Churches where entire warehouses hold thousands of gallons of water, ready to be blessed, and ready to be sold to the thirsty and desperate throngs.

Some Churches generate considerable revenue from water sales alone. With the right marketing strategy, a man of God can become a wealthy water distribution entrepreneur wielding a Bible as a front. Water bottles easily outsell Bibles, books, tapes, CDs, and any other materials combined! Yes, Gary, there is something in the water. But what is it that's in the water?

Why are Churches known for their emphasis and screams and shouts of "fire" now neck-deep in water? Aren't fire and water incompatible? Or we are now deep into physics whereby we argue that water is a by-product of fire since it is a result of the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen molecules? Fire! Why the about-turn from condemning water to leading the pack in its usage in faith matters? I don't purport to have the answers, but I'll throw in my two cents' worth. You see, water is a basic requirement of and for life. In their deep space quest for signs of life, for instance, NASA almost invariably look for ice caps (water).

The premise is obvious. If there is a presence of water on a planetary body, then it scientifically follows that life can be supported. The very world we live in, according to the Genesis account, emerged on Creation morning out of water. Genesis 1:1-2 KJV [1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Science tells us that our human body is made up of about 70% water. In other words, more than half of our constitution is water-based. Is it a wonder therefore that we should be so easily responsive to water? I think not. So, even before the importation of religion, we are biologically wired to be at home around water. Indeed, before we are even born, our essence is crafted and subsists in a watery world called the amniotic sac. In other words, we were formed in water. Water phobias and general avoidance of water later on in life are learned habits, completely unnatural.

I posit that this major role of water in the human body is the building block giving rise to the religious use of water for supernatural purposes. Not that this is itself strange. Not in the least. Throughout the Bible, water plays a major role in the narrative.

The first universal judgment was through the employment of water. Moses, whose very name means, "drawn from water," a huge personality in the Bible, was rescued from the waters of the Nile River. Running as a fugitive from Egypt, he met some women, one of whom was later to become his wife, at a well in the land of Midian.

His plagues of Egypt aside, perhaps his greatest feat of supernatural power was the parting of the Red Sea, a huge water body. En-route to the promised land, he "cured" the bitter waters at Marah. Exodus 15:23-25 KJV [23] And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. [24]

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? [25] And he cried unto the Lord ; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them…

Such was the prominence of the water theme in Moses' life that his career, one that began in the water, so to speak, also ended around a water issue. The Bible says that when he was instructed to speak to the rock so that the water can gush out, he struck it in anger. In displeasure at Moses' disobedience, God told him he would not enter the Promised Land. Throughout the Old Testament, the water theme features prominently with the acts of God and the presence of God.

Psalm 29:3 KJV [3] The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters. Psalm 77:19 KJV [19] Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Jeremiah 2:13 KJV [13] For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Ezekiel 47:1-4 KJV [1] Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. [2]

Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. [3]

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. [4] Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees.

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Zechariah 14:8 KJV [8] And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. God likened the life He gives to water. It should come as no surprise therefore that water is being used in faith cycles as a symbol of water. In John 5, the waters of the Pool of Bethesda were like a hospital.

Wholesale masses of the infirm and invalid would be cured upon entering the pool after an angel stirred up the waters. It mattered not what the affliction was; the angel stirred waters would heal. Whether the stirring of the angel made the water "holy" or "anointed" is a debate for another day. It is from texts like these, that the use of water is promoted.

Used as a faith medium, it is preached and hoped that the user will naturally identify with the life-giving nature of water and its refreshing abilities to give his or her faith a boost. In other words, the water medium would play the role of a visual aid to assist one's faith.

Unfortunately, there's a fine line between a visual aid and an idol. In fact, aren't idols visual aids to begin with? Aren't idols visible representations of invisible realities? As such, aren't they visual aids? But that's another argument for another day. The point being driven home is that, for those who are sincere, or who claim a divine revelation or instruction to introduce water in their Churches, water is used as a symbol of life.

Where there is decay, sickness, struggle, oppression, poverty, and all other human or demonic vices, the introduction of water as a faith prop is supposed to bring in supernatural intervention. It's a slippery slope, I know. But it works. Although it can be argued that it's not the water that works per se but one's faith.

Many years ago as a little boy, I accompanied a man on a strange mission. I understood that he was a "water diviner." His mission was to go prospecting for water from underground aquifers. Now, this man had nothing scientific to go about his mission in the form of equipment or any obvious tools. The only thing he had, curiously, was a stick.

Yes, a thin, dry twig you can find anywhere, although I doubt his was any old stick as I was to later discover. There was nothing eventful about our quest as I followed quietly behind. All of a sudden, he started to tremble and shake violently! His stick seemed to assume a life of its own and wiggled and wriggled in his hands like the tail of an excited Jack Russell! The man was sweating profusely! I was both awed and petrified at this spectacle.

Clearly, something beyond the natural was at play and I had a front row seat to the whole thing. "There is a lot of water here!" He panted breathlessly, to me and to himself and to no one in particular. I got to understand that his "divining rod" helped him locate where subterranean waters were. The stick would point this way and that way, and he would follow. Where the stick pointed, there he went.

This went on for a few minutes until he had satisfied himself and finally there was calm again. Mission accomplished. That afternoon, his violent reaction was testimony to the fact that there was plenty of water underneath our feet.

It demonstrated that not only was there water, but there was plenty of it. His stick and his body reacted to the presence of the water. How? I don't know. I don't know whether what I witnessed that afternoon falls under science, physics (or metaphysics), or religion. But it doesn't fall under fiction. Yes, there is something in the water.

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Can we cure ourselves from the cancer of corruption?

28th October 2020
DCEC DIRECTOR: Tymon Katholo

Bokani Lisa Motsu

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan

Corruption is a heavy price to pay. The clean ones pay and suffer at the mercy of people who cannot have enough. They always want to eat and eat so selfishly like a bunch of ugly masked shrews. I hope God forgives me for ridiculing his creatures, but that mammal is so greedy. But corruption is not the new kid on the block, because it has always been everywhere.

This of course begs the question, why that is so? The common answer was and still is – abuse and misuse of power by those in power and weak institutions, disempowered to control the leaders. In 1996, the then President of The World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn named the ‘C-Word’ for the first time during an annual meeting of the Bretton Woods Institutions. A global fight against corruption started. Transparency International began its work. Internal and external audits mushroomed; commissions of inquiry followed and ever convoluted public tender procedures have become a bureaucratic nightmare to the private sector, trying to fight red tape.

The result is sobering corruption today is worse than it was 25 years ago. There is no denying that strong institutions help, but how does it come that in the annual Transparency International Ranking the same group of countries tend to be on the top while another group of countries, many African among them, tend to be on the bottom? Before one jumps to simple and seductive conclusions let us step back a moment.

Wolfensohn called corruption a cancer that destroys economies like a cancer destroys a body. A cancer is, simplified, good cells in a body gone bad, taking control of more and more good cells until the entire body is contaminated and eventually dies. So, let us look at the good cells of society first: they are family ties, clan and tribe affiliation, group cohesion, loyalty, empathy, reciprocity.

Most ordinary people like the reader of these lines or myself would claim to share such values. Once we ordinary people must make decisions, these good cells kick in: why should I hire a Mrs. Unknown, if I can hire my niece whose strengths and weaknesses I know? If I hire the niece, she will owe me and support my objectives.

Why should I purchase office furniture from that unknown company if I know that my friend’s business has good quality stuff? If I buy from him, he will make an extra effort to deliver his best and provide quality after sales service? So, why go through a convoluted tender process with uncertain outcome? In the unlikely case my friend does not perform as expected, I have many informal means to make him deliver, rather than going through a lengthy legal proceeding?

This sounds like common sense and natural and our private lives do work mostly that way and mostly quite well.

The problem is scale. Scale of power, scale of potential gains, scale of temptations, scale of risk. And who among us could throw the first stone were we in positions of power and claim not to succumb to the temptations of scale? Like in a body, cancer cells start growing out of proportion.

So, before we call out for new leaders – experience shows they are rarely better than the old ones – we need to look at ourselves first. But how easy is that? If I were the niece who gets the job through nepotism, why should I be overly critical? If I got a big furniture contract from a friend, why should I spill the beans? What right do I have to assume that, if I were a president or a minister or a corporate chief procurement officer I would not be tempted?

This is where we need to learn. What is useful, quick, efficient, and effective within a family or within a clan or a small community can become counterproductive and costly and destructive at larger corporate or national scale. Our empathy with small scale reciprocity easily permeates into complacency and complicity with large scale corruption and into an acquiescence with weak institutions to control it.

Our institutions can only be as strong as we wish them to be.

I was probably around ten years old and have always been that keen enthusiastic child that also liked to sing the favourite line of, ‘the world will become a better place.’  I would literally stand in front of a mirror and use my mom’s torch as a mic and sing along Michael Jackson’s hit song, ‘We are the world.’

Despite my horrible voice, I still believed in the message.  Few years later, my annoyance towards the world’s corrupt system wonders whether I was just too naïve. Few years later and I am still in doubt so as to whether I should go on blabbing that same old boring line. ‘The world is going to be a better place.’ The question is, when?

The answer is – as always: now.

This is pessimistic if not fatalistic – I challenge Sagan’s outlook with a paraphrased adage of unknown origin: Some people can be bamboozled all of the time, all people can be bamboozled some of the time, but never will all people be bamboozled all of the time.

We, the people are the only ones who can heal society from the cancer of corruption. We need to understand the temptation of scale and address it. We need to stop seeing ourselves just a victim of a disease that sleeps in all of us. We need to give power to the institutions that we have put in place to control corruption: parliaments, separation of power, the press, the ballot box. And sometimes we need to say as a niece – no, I do not want that job as a favour, I want it because I have proven to be better than other contenders.

It is going to be a struggle, because it will mean sacrifices, but sacrifices that we have chosen, not those imposed on us.

Let us start today.

*Bokani Lisa Motsu is a student at University of Botswana

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Accounting Officers are out of touch with reality

19th October 2020

Parliament, the second arm of State through its parliamentary committees are one of Botswana’s most powerful mechanisms to ensure that government is held accountable at all times. The Accounting Officers are mostly Permanent Secretaries across government Ministries and Chief Executive Officers, Director Generals, Managing Directors of parastatals, state owned enterprises and Civil Society.

So parliament plays its oversight authority via the legislators sitting on a parliamentary committee and Accounting Officers sitting in the hot chair.  When left with no proper checks and balances, the Executive is prone to abuse the arrangement and so systematic oversight of the executive is usually carried out by parliamentary committees.  They track the work of various government departments and ministries, and conduct scrutiny into important aspects of their policy, direction and administration.

It is not rocket science that effective oversight requires that committees be totally independent and able to set their own agendas and have the power to summon ministers and top civil servants to appear and answer questions. Naturally, Accounting Officers are the highest ranking officials in the government hierarchy apart from cabinet Ministers and as such wield much power and influence in the performance of government.  To illustrate further, government performance is largely owed to the strategic and policy direction of top technocrats in various Ministries.

It is disheartening to point out that the recent parliament committees — as has been the case all over the years — has laid bare the incompetency, inadequacy and ineptitude of people bestowed with great responsibilities in public offices. To say that they are ineffective and inefficient sounds as an understatement. Some appear useless and hopeless when it comes to running the government despite the huge responsibility they possess.

If we were uncertain about the degree at which the Accounting Officers are incompetent, the ongoing parliament committees provide a glaring answer.  It is not an exaggeration to say that ordinary people on the streets have been held ransom by these technocrats who enjoy their air conditioned offices and relish being chauffeured around in luxurious BX SUV’s while the rest of the citizenry continue to suffer. Because of such high life the Accounting Officers seem to have, with time, they have gotten out of touch with the people they are supposed to serve.

An example; when appearing before the recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Office of the President Permanent Secretary, Thuso Ramodimoosi, looked reluctant to admit misuse of public funds. Although it is clear funds were misused, he looked unbothered when committee members grilled him over the P80 million Orapa House building that has since morphed into a white elephant for close to 10 successive years. To him, it seems it did not matter much and PAC members were worried for nothing.

On a separate day, another Accounting officer, Director of Public Service Management (DPSM), Naledi Mosalakatane, was not shy to reveal to PAC upon cross-examination that there exist more than 6 000 vacancies in government. Whatever reasons she gave as an excuse, they were not convincing and the committee looked sceptical too. She was faltering and seemed not to have a sense of urgency over the matter no matter how critical it is to the populace.

Botswana’s unemployment rate hoovers around 18 percent in a country where majority of the population is the youth, and the most affected by unemployment. It is still unclear why DPSM could underplay such a critical matter that may threaten the peace and stability of the country.
Accounting Officers clearly appear out of touch with the reality out there – if the PAC examinations are anything to go by.

Ideally the DPSM Director could be dropping the vacancy post digits while sourcing funds and setting timelines for the spaces to be filled as a matter of urgency so that the citizens get employed to feed their families and get out of unemployment and poverty ravaging the country.
The country should thank parliamentary committees such as PAC to expose these abnormalities and the behaviour of our leaders when in public office. How can a full Accounting Officer downplay the magnitude of the landless problem in Botswana and fail to come with direct solutions tailor made to provide Batswana with the land they desperately need?

Land is a life and death matter for some citizens, as we would know.

When Bonolo Khumotaka, the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, whom as a top official probably with a lucrative pay too appears to be lacking sense of urgency as she is failing on her key mandate of working around the clock to award the citizens with land especially those who need it most like the marginalised.  If government purports they need P94 billion to service land to address the land crisis what is plan B for government? Are we going to accept it the way it is?

Government should wake up from its slumber and intervene to avoid the 30 years unnecessary waiting period in State land and 13 years in Tribal land.  Accounting Officers are custodians of government policy, they should ensure it is effective and serve its purpose. What we have been doing over the years, has proved that it is not effective, and clearly there is a need for change of direction.

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Is it possible to make people part of your business resilience planning after the State of Public Emergency?

12th October 2020


His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi EK Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana found it appropriate to invoke Section 17 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana, using the powers vested in him to declare a State of Public Emergency starting from the 2nd April 2020 at midnight.

The constitutional provision under Section 17 (2b) only provided that such a declaration could be up to a maximum of 21 days. His Excellency further invoked Section 93 (1) to convene an extra- ordinary meeting of Parliament to have the opportunity to consult members of parliament on measures that have been put in place to address the spread and transmission of the virus. At this meeting Members of Parliament passed a resolution on the legal instruments and regulations governing the period of the state of emergency, and extended its duration by six (6) months.

The passing of the State of Emergency is considered as a very crucial step in fighting the near apocalyptic potential of the Novel COVID-19 virus. One of the interesting initiatives that was developed and extended to the business community was a 3-month wage subsidy that came with a condition that no businesses would retrench for the duration of the State of Public Emergency. This has potentially saved many people’s jobs as most companies would have been extremely quick to reduce expenses by downsizing. Self-preservation as some would call it.

Most organisations would have tried to reduce costs by letting go of people, retreated and tried their best to live long enough to fight another day. In my view there is silver lining that we need to look at and consider. The fact that organisations are not allowed to retrench has forced certain companies to look at the people with a long-term view.

Most leaders have probably had to wonder how they are going to ensure that their people are resilient. Do they have team members who innovate and add value to the organisation during these testing times? Do they even have resilient people or are they just waiting for the inevitable end? Can they really train people and make them resilient? How can your team members be part of your recovery plan? What can they do to avoid losing the capabilities they need to operate meaningfully for the duration of the State of Public Emergency and beyond?

The above questions have forced companies to reimagine the future of work. The truth is that no organisation can operate to its full potential without resilient people. In the normal business cycle, new teams come on board; new business streams open, operations or production sites launch or close; new markets develop, and technology is introduced. All of this provides fresh opportunities – and risks.

The best analogy I have seen of people-focused resilience planning reframes employees as your organisation’s immune system, ready and prepared to anticipate risks and ensure they can tackle challenges, fend off illness and bounce back more quickly.  So, how do you supercharge your organizational immune system to become resilient?

COVID-19 has helped many organisations realize they were not as prepared as they believed themselves to be. Now is the time to take stock and reset for the future. All the strategies and plans prior to COVID-19 arriving in Botswana need to be thrown out of the window and you need to develop a new plan today. There is no room for tweaking or reframing. Botswana has been disrupted and we need to accept and embrace the change. What we initially anticipated as a disease that would take a short term is turning out to be something we are going to have to live with for a much longer time. It is going to be a marathon and therefore businesses need to have a plan to complete this marathon.

Start planning. Planning for change can help reduce employee stress, anxiety, and overall fear, boosting the confidence of staff and stakeholders. Think about conducting and then regularly refreshing a strategic business impact analysis, look at your employee engagement scores, dig into your customer metrics and explore the way people work alongside your behaviours and culture. This research will help to identify what you really want to protect, the risks that you need to plan for and what you need to survive during disruption. Don’t forget to ask your team members for their input. In many cases they are closest to critical business areas and already have ideas to make processes and systems more robust.

Revisit your organisational purpose. Purpose, values and principles are powerful tools. By putting your organisation’s purpose and values front and center, you provide clear decision-making guidelines for yourself and your organisation. There are very tough and interesting decisions to make which have to be made fast; so having guiding principles on which the business believes in will help and assist all decision makers with sanity checking the choices that are in front of them. One noticeable characteristic of companies that adapt well during change is that they have a strong sense of identity. Leaders and employees have a shared sense of purpose and a common performance culture; they know what the company stands for beyond shareholder value and how to get things done right.

Revisit your purpose and values. Understand if they have been internalised and are proving useful. If so, find ways to increase their use. If not, adapt them as necessities, to help inspire and guide people while immunizing yourself against future disruption. Design your employee experience. The most resilient, adaptive and high performing companies are made up of people who know each other, like each other, and support each other.

Adaptability requires us to teach other, speak up and discuss problems, and have a collective sense of belonging. Listening to your team members is a powerful and disruptive thing to do. It has the potential to transform the way you manage your organisation. Enlisting employees to help shape employee experience, motivates better performance, increases employee retention and helps you spot issues and risks sooner. More importantly, it gives employees a voice so you can get active and constructive suggestions to make your business more robust by adopting an inclusive approach.

Leaders need to show they care. If you want to build resilience, you must build on a basis of trust. And this means leaders should listen, care, and respond. It’s time to build the entire business model around trust and empathy. Many of the employees will be working under extreme pressure due to the looming question around what will happen when companies have to retrench. As a leader of a company transparency and open communication are the most critical aspects that need to be illustrated.

Take your team member into confidence because if you do have to go through the dreaded excise of retrenchment you have to remember that those people the company retains will judge you based on the process you follow. If you illustrate that the business or organization has no regard for loyalty and commitment, they will never commit to the long-term plans of the organisation which will leave you worse off in the end. Its an absolutely delicate balance but it must all be done in good faith. Hopefully, your organization will avoid this!

This is the best time to revisit your identify and train your people to encourage qualities that build strong, empathetic leadership; self-awareness and control, communication, kindness and psychological safety.  Resilience is the glue that binds functional silos and integrates partners, improves communications, helps you prepare, listen and understand. Most importantly, people-focused resilience helps individuals and teams to think collectively and with empathy – helping you respond and recover faster.

Article written by Thabo Majola, a brand communications expert with a wealth of experience in the field and is Managing Director of Incepta Communications.

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