Career Wellness Month – an interview with Muzi Dladla (Sasria) on his experience with mentorship

For the year of yes, this month, we looked at career wellness, sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright, and how to achieve emotional intelligence as a springboard to success! Part of this Challenge was a FREE EQ test by EVOLVE EQ.

In addition, the GWII hosted two online webinars, in collaboration with EVOLVE EQ, which focused on professional growth and unlocking members full potential.

To close off the month’s challenge, we chatted to Muzi Dladla - Executive Manager: Stakeholder Management (Sasria SOC Ltd) to discuss his mentorship experience.

About Muzi

Muzi Dladla joined Sasria SOC Ltd in June 2021 as the Executive Manager of Stakeholder Management. Muzi is both Non-life and Life insurance specialist.

He is a researcher, climate and risk enthusiast with a focus on progressive, inclusive, and collaborative solutions)

A Q&A session

Q.   What would you say is a secret to success that's unrelated to hard work?

R.   The first thing that comes to mind is curiosity. A curious mind is one that is able to look further than just the available information in an area of focus. If you want to achieve success, curiosity is important because it allows you to look outside of what's in the peripheral, and you are able to spot things that, ordinarily, individuals wouldn't be able to spot. Everybody who operates on an average level will get average results.

You also need to be prepared. Once you're curious about something and you have searched and looked for information that is outside of what is ordinarily available, then you are able to prep. Someone who is able to prepare up-front for the journey that they're going to take is someone who is more likely to be met with opportunities that they would have prepared for.

I think the third one, and probably the last thing, is being able to connect with the correct individuals within the particular space that you want to operate in. No matter how good you are, if you don't know how to knock on doors where your name has been heard, you are less likely to succeed.

Without the ability to network, you have decreased chances of becoming successful purely based on your own performance. No matter how good you are, the ability to influence others and get others to see value in what you bring is what will get you a seat at the table.

Q.   Do you think that it is important to pave the way for those who will come after you?  

R.   Yes. I’ll use athletes as an example. The fastest man on earth has a coach who is not as fast as him/her, but the coach’s name is well-known. The coach has travelled and has reached the best level that they can. Now, s/he coaches someone else and gives feedback on their performance and things that they can do to improve.

A coach is someone who is already sitting at the table and they can help you get a seat. It is absolutely important for any individual who is climbing up the ladder to have a coach.

Q.   How did you choose a mentor?

R.   I identified people that I wanted to learn specific skills from. They each had different strengths and the skills that I learned from them were limited to exactly what I asked for and based on their own experience. Before a person can be coached, a mentor is imperative because they can give you step-by-step guidance on how to move forward.

Q.   Do you think it is important to have both a mentor and a coach?

R.   Once you know what you’re doing and you are moving up the ladder, you will then need a coach to push you towards what you can become. At that point, the focus is no longer on how to do your job, it is how to turn yourself into a leader. This is important because if people are not pushed or coached, they will only grow to their highest level of competence and their contribution will be limited.