Group FM Titus Khiba strives for participative leadership

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Group FM Titus Khiba strives for participative leadership

Jan 9, 2024 | Strategy & Leadership

There are two Stephens who stand out for Titus Khiba as icons; one called Dattells and one called Jobs.

Motivating staff

Let’s start with the lesser known Dattells. Titus worked under him for two years as the group accountant of UraMin Inc from 2006.

‘He was a private equity investor who was one of the founders of UraMin,’ Titus says. ‘He had a great knack for identifying mining opportunities, growing and listing them. What I admired about him was his ability to motivate all staff. He ensured we all got share options and he got to know each of us personally. Consequently, productivity was always high.’

How about Jobs?

‘I thoroughly enjoyed reading Steve Jobs biography,’ Titus continues. ‘He had a charisma and although he was authoritative in nature, he had the ability to identify the best employees which is what made Apple a big success. I admire him for his daring and ambitious nature and the fact that he managed to help all his employees grow.’

Whereas Titus aspires to be like Dattells and Jobs, he admits he has one limitation. He has a reserved personality which is what motivated him to pursue a career in accounting. It is a profession centred around crunching numbers and you only get to interact with a few people being colleagues and auditors.

Management development

‘As you begin to rise through the ranks, you end up having to manage people and being reserved will not work. It is for this reason that I pursued the University of Pretoria Management Development programme last year. Amongst the things I learnt is that a team is successful when clear goals and objectives are set and communicated effectively to the team,’ he explains.

With a South African father and a mother from Botswana, Titus spent a number of years in Gaborone where he worked for KPMG. He was plunged into the world of mining when he was seconded to work at a diamond mine and never looked back. Since then, he has worked for different mining companies including Coal of Africa (now MC Mining), UraMin and ZimDiv Holdings. He is presently group finance manager at Wesizwe Platinum.

‘Mining is a complex industry in many respects,’ Titus states. ‘There is rarely a dull day with all the different regulations we have to contend with. The law around what should be taxed and what is exempt is also ambiguous which can lead to disputes with the taxman. We also have frequent employee disruptions and a myriad of accounting reporting issues.’

Participative leadership

In managing his team, Titus strives to exercise ‘participative leadership’. He explains, ‘I am a team player and believe in conducting myself ethically. I also try to be optimistic no matter how desperate the situation may seem. I have a curious mind and a willingness to learn.’

It is because of this hunger for learning that Titus rarely watches television. He spends his free time browsing financial news websites. Occasionally, he goes to the driving range to attend to his quest to improve his handicap. He run the comrades marathons twice getting to the 57 kilometre mark in 2015 and the 71 kilometre mark in 2016.

‘The last attempt to finish the comrades really broke my spirit because I got to the second last cut-off point and felt that I could have gone all the way. I am not sure I will attempt it again. Instead, I am training for the half iron man triathlon which I plan to undertake in 2024,’ Titus says.

Titus favourites

Meal – I am a steak man; medium to well done with mash and veggies washed down with a good red merlot wine.

Restaurant – Signature in Morningside.

Movie/Show – I rarely watch TV. When I do, it is a sport tournament, UEFA champions league and tennis grand slams.

Car – Because I live in Pretoria and work in Johannesburg, I had to swap my BMW for a more fuel-efficient Suzuki Swift. But if I were to win the lotto, I would buy the M5.

App – WhatsApp. I use it to communicate with everyone around the world. I am in WhatsApp groups with all kinds of people, even those I went to primary school with. It really is a good platform to catch up on.


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