The most well-known translation of ubuntu is ‘I am, because you are’. It’s more than a word; it’s way of being in the world and relating to others. Ubuntu is about honouring community and our place in that community. It recognises that when we lift up others, we lift up ourselves, and vice versa.
But does ubuntu have a place in the world of business? According to professor and author Vuyisile Msila it does and, more than that, is actually an effective strategy for creating a more humane and productive working environment.
In Msila’s book ‘Ubuntu: Shaping the Current Workplace with (African) Wisdom’ he says that an ubuntu-inspired workplace focuses on dependability, teamwork, interconnectedness, caring, being led by a collective vision, performance, loyalty, openness, honesty and transformational leadership.
Encouraging a culture of caring is one way you could create a more ubuntu-inspired business. Not just as a leader that cares for employees, but employees that care for one another, and for customers. This is a process that could start with a conversation – asking employees, and customers, what really matters to them.
Caring builds connections and brings people together around a common purpose or goal. And it makes sense that the more people working toward a shared goal, the more likely the success in achieving it.
What are other ways you can create a more ubuntu-inspired workplace?