Adopting an appropriate leadership approach to improve public service delivery in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 1
  • Abstract:

    The major challenge is that despite intense endeavours directed at improving public service delivery, lack of, or mediocre delivery continues to plague South African communities. Within the growing literature on public service delivery in South Africa (SA), it has become evident that the root causes of many service delivery problems are critical shortages of upcoming leaders, lack of appropriate leadership skills, underperformance, and the adoption of inappropriate leadership approaches, with no or little consideration to local needs and context. These factors have affected the leaders’ ability to ensure that policy should lead to expected outcomes. This article explores leadership approaches adopted in SA’s public service departments and highlights the reasons for its inability to promote effective service delivery outcomes. It explores which leadership approaches tend to be associated with effective organisational performance and service delivery outcomes. It suggests the adoption of an appropriate leadership approach that is relevant to the SA public service needs and context. Given the needs of the SA public service, it is argued that no single leadership approach would be appropriate in addressing the diverse needs of SA communities. This leadership approach suggested entails a combination of appropriate multiple leadership approaches that are critical in improving service delivery in the South African public service.