The study was sparked by concerns in the Human Resources Department at Denel, a State Owned Company/Enterprise in South Africa, regarding the state of leadership in the organization. The concerns were primarily that the leadership style in general, was ‘command and control’ - autocratic, bureaucratic and lacking the necessary commercial mindset and emotional intelligence needed to deal with employees from a motivational and employee-engagement perspective. The purpose of the research was to conduct an investigation into leadership at Denel and to analyse the perceptions, opinions and concerns of all stakeholders in the company. A qualitative research methodology was used and the findings confirmed that leadership styles at Denel were indeed traditional command and control, autocratic, lacked a commercial mindset and lacked emotional intelligence. Furthermore, the existing repertoire of leadership development programmes lacked work-based application relevance and the leadership development approaches were haphazard, with no proper focus and direction. Furthermore, there was no measurement of the impact of the leadership development interventions in the company to determine the return on investment. The recommendation is that leaders at Denel should create a culture of talent optimization, be transformed into business leaders and ensure employee motivation and engagement levels are enhanced within the company.
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