Team Intelligence and Traditional African Leadership

We are always in search for strategies to maintain the health and productivity of teams as organisations continue to depend on teams to achieve results. Recognising the indispensable role of individual Emotional Intelligence within team dynamics, we also cannot overlook the significance of collective team intelligence in the pursuit of success.

Considering this, we saw it fit to explore the concept of Team Intelligence, specifically examining it within the framework of traditional African Leadership. We believe in the significant influence of context on shaping outcomes, bringing this subject closer to home.

Africa boasts a wealth of diverse cultures, each with its own unique leadership styles deeply rooted in history and tradition. Many of us can agree that there is so much wisdom encapsulated in traditional African leadership and principles that can be seamlessly integrated into modern team development strategies.

Key points:

  1. Ubuntu Philosophy: Understanding the concept of Ubuntu, where shared values and interconnectedness of individuals is emphasised, and how it contributes to the formation of strong, supportive teams. -iZandla ziyagezana, Umntu ngumntu ngabantu
  2. Communal Decision-Making: Delving into the traditional African approach to decision-making, which often involves collaboration and consensus-building within the community. -Kgotla
  3. Role of Elders: Exploring the significance of leadership by elders and the transfer of wisdom from one generation to the next in the context of team development.
  4. Storytelling Tradition: Unpacking the power of storytelling as a means of communication and knowledge-sharing within teams.


Now, as we contemplate these principles, how do they manifest in today’s organisational landscape? What elements should we carry forward, and what aspects should we reconsider or leave behind?