Vol.1, No.1, 1-12 (2012) Advances in Aging Research
A profile of personnel who work with retired
volunteers at a service centre for elderly persons
Sanet Jansen van Rensburg1, Herman Strydom2*
1Potchefstroom Service Centre for the Aged, Potchefstroom, South Africa;
2Social Work, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
*Corresponding Author: herma n.strydom@nwu.ac. za
Received 2 April 2012; revised 3 May 2012; accepted 10 May 2012
This article focuses on a profile of personnel
who work with retired volunteers. The data was
sourced by using two standardised measuring
instrument, interviews, focus groups and ob-
servation. The Leadership Qualities Inventory
(LQI-S) was used as one standardised measur-
ing instrument. The following elements were
measured namely leadership, people-oriented,
task-oriented and self-oriented qualities. The
Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI) was used as a
second standardised instrument. This instru-
ment measured the subconscious’ preferences
in four quadrants namely analytical (L1), sys-
tematic (L2), emotional (R2) and holistic (R1).
From the data an empowerment programme was
developed for personnel involved at service
centres for elderly persons.
Keywords: Profile, Personnel, Retired
Volunteers, Service Centre, Elderly Persons
This article focuses specifically on determining the
profile of personnel who work with retired volunteers.
The personnel included in the study, are the 25 staff
members (100%) of all eight service centres for the aged,
within a radius of 150km of Potchefstroom. These staff
members work directly with retired volunteers. The first
standardised measuring instrument used in this study,
was the Leadership Qualities Inventory (LQI-S). The
following elements were measured: leadership, peo-
ple-oriented, task-oriented and self-oriented qualities. A
second standardised measuring instrument used, was the
Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI). This instrument mea-
sures the sub-conscious’ preferences in four quadrants:
analytical (L1), systematic (L2), emotional (R2) and ho-
listic (R1). This data is part of a larger study with the aim
of developing and evaluating a need centralised empow-
erment programme for personnel of service centres for
the aged.
Van Zyl [1] clearly states that the transition between
the active working phase and retirement brings certain
adjustments to keep in mind, such as lowered monthly
income, more leisure time, possible changes in their liv-
ing environment, loss of friends and higher life expecta-
tion. These are but some of the problems retired people
are confronted with.
Most service centres for the aged experience financial
strain, and therefore cannot employ fulltime personnel to
help with minor tasks at the centre. During 1995 there
were 385 registered service centres in South Africa. This
number declined to only 188 in 1998 [2]. The meaningful
and effective use of retired volunteers could be valuable
for both the retired person and the service centre.
Mental stimulation is important to ensure overall good
health in the senior years. Stim and Warner [3] are of the
opinion that a retired person needs money, good health, a
network of family and friends and to be actively involved
in activities that will bring them joy. The joys of volun-
teering lies in the fact that one can make a conscious deci-
sion about the kind of work you’d like to be involved with,
the amount of time that you are willing to spend doing the
job, where you want to work and to experience the gratifi-
cation of making a difference in someone else’s life [4].
To recruit and make use of volunteers might be quite
simple, but most importantly these people should be
trained and encouraged to stay involved in the long-term
to ensure quality service delivery [5]. Personnel of ser-
vice centres play an important part when it comes to
training and motivation. Van der Lingen [6] clearly states
that welfare organisations should employ the correct
number as well as the right kind of people for the job(s).
Management should also plan for the recruitment of
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M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12
volunteers, because it is such an important component of
service delivery at welfare organisations.
Personnel don’t always know how to engage mean-
ingful with retired volunteers [7]. During 1998 a study
done by the United Parcel Service (UPS) Foundation [3],
found that 41% of volunteers quit because they felt the
welfare organisation for whom they volunteered, did not
adequately make use of their time and talents. Almost
60% of this group would have liked to do more voluntary
work if their time was better utilised. According to
Szala-Meneok [8] it is ideal that people working with
older volunteers should have the knowledge and experi-
ence of the older person and should show sensitivity in
the interpersonal relationship with the older person.
An empowerment programme for personnel who works
with retired volunteers will equip personnel with better
knowledge and understanding of the older person. Jansen
van Rensburg [7] recommends that such a programme be
developed for personnel at service centres. In order to
develop this empowerment programme, it is important to
determine if any similarities between the brain profiles
and leadership qualities of the personnel working with
retired volunteers exist.
The following research questions arise from the hy-
What are the leadership-, people-oriented-, task-ori-
ented- and self-oriented qualities of personnel who
work with retired volunteers?
What does the average brain profile, of a person who
works with retired volunteers, looks like?
The aim of this article is to determine the profile of
personnel—the brain profiles and leadership qualities—
who work with retired volunteers.
4.1. Objectives
In order to achieve abovementioned research aim, the
following objectives must be achieved:
4.1.1. Objective 1
To determine the leadership, people-oriented,
task-oriented and self-oriented qualities of the personnel.
4.1.2. Objective 2
To determine the average brain profile of personnel
working with retired volunteers.
The turnover of volunteers can be minimised and be
used to the advantage of both the service centre and re-
tired volunteer, if the volunteer’s time and skills are util-
ised more effectively by personnel who better under-
stands the volunteer.
The intervention research model (D & D model) as de-
scribed in De Vos and Strydom [9] is used. The phases of
the model, applicable to this article, are:
Phase 1: problem analysis and project planning, and
Phase 2: information collection and assembling as
seen in Table 1.
Table 1 highlights the first two phases of the interven-
tion research model.
Phase 1: The identified client is the personnel of ser-
vice centres who work with retired volunteers. The
community is concerned about the increasing percentage
of older people who could still be of service, but who
become lonely and no longer take part in the community.
Aspects looked into, were the leadership qualities and
average brain profile of the personnel who work with
retired volunteers. The objectives would be to include the
findings of the study in an empowerment programme
aimed at better utilising the skills and time of retired
Phase 2: The data has been captured and compared to
other research, as described in the literature. The re-
searcher wanted to see if the data correlated to findings
of other researchers. Information was gathered by use of
two standardised questionnaires, qualitative research and
observation. The data gathered, can effectively be incur-
porated in the empowerment programme to guide per-
sonnel to manage retired volunteers more effectively.
6.1. Participants
The research refers to 25 personnel (100%) from eight
service centres in a radius of 150 km from Potchefstroom.
The age profile of the personnel: the youngest person
Table 1. Intervention research model: phase 1 and phase 2.
Problem analysis and
project planning
Information gathering
and synthesis
1) Identifying and involving c
1) Using existing information
2) Gaining entry and co-operation
from settings 2) Studying natural examples
3) Identifying concerns of the
3) Identifying functional
elements of successful models
4) Analysing concerns or
problems identified
5) Setting goals and objectives
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M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
was 24 years and the oldest was 61 years. The average
age of the personnel was 39 years and the average age of
the volunteers was 71 years. Any of the personnel of par-
ticipating service centres who directly work with retired
volunteers, could take part in the research. The eight par-
ticipating service centres were located in the North West-,
Free State- and Gauteng- provinces of South Africa.
ings the researcher can clarify uncertainties about the
6.2.1. Reliability
Cronbach Alpha-values were calculated to establish
the reliability of each sub scale of the Leadership Quali-
ties Inventory. A value bigger or equal to 0.5 indicates
that the sub scale is reliable [13].
Figure 1 shows the participating service centres, their
names and where they are located.
6.2.2. Construct Validity
6.2. Measuring Instruments Exploratory factor analysis was done to test construct
validity. The components of each sub scale were used in
a specific exploratory factor analysis [14].
A standardised measuring instrument, namely the
Leadership Qualities Inventory (LQI-S) was used [10].
Elements measured, were leadership, people-oriented,
task-oriented and self-oriented qualities. A second stan-
dardised measuring instrument was used, namely the
Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI), [11]. This instrument
measures the sub-conscious’ preferences in the following
quadrants: analytical (L1), systematic (L2), emotional
(R2) and holistic (R1). These instruments were handled
in focus groups with the personnel of the service centres.
After each respondent completed his or her questionnaire,
a group discussion took place. Morris [12] describes
group interviews as the “bringing together of personnel
in order to complete questionnaires”. During these meet-
6.2.3. Sampling Adequacy
Kaiser’s Measure of Sampling Adequacy (MSA) was
used. To determine whether a factor analysis might be
suitable, Kaiser’s standard must be calculated from the
sample (MSA). This determines the correlations between
variables. Guidelines for MSA values for a factor analy-
sis are:
0.80: meritorious
0.70: middling
0.60: mediocre
0.50: miserable
<0.50: unacceptable [15].
Drie Riviere
0 12.5 25 50 75 100
Figure 1. Participating service centres.
M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12
6.3. Procedure
The survey procedure was used during the study.
‘Survey’ is defined as the method where data is gathered
from a representative sample so that the variables will be
applicable to large and small populations [16,17]. A pre-
test of the measuring instruments was done during a
personnel enrichment course held in 2010 for all heads of
departments of the Potchefstroom Service Centre for the
Aged. According to Babbie [16], Engel and Schutt [18]
and Unrau [19] the pretesting of a questionnaire is of
utmost importance, because this will exclude any ambi-
guities and indistinct questions. The pretest is the final
phase of questionnaire preparation. Pretesting represents
all aspects of the data gathering plan on a small scale.
People who qualified for the study were informed tele-
phonically to obtain their consent to participate. Seperate
appointments were made with participating service cen-
tres and all participating personnel were approached
during the same timeframe. Those service centres with
more than one member of personnel in their service, and
who make use of retired volunteers, were engaged in
focus groups [12]. Additional information was gathered
through qualitative questions about the specific opinions
of the personnel, observation and feed back of respon-
dents, and field notes were taken [20].
6.4. Ethical Aspects
Ethical approval was obtained from the Research Eth-
ics Committee of the North West University’s Potchef-
stroom campus. The reference number is NWU-0017-
08-S1. Participation of the study group was at all times
voluntary. Informed consent was obtained to assure that
participation of the study group was indeed voluntary,
and that they could quit at any time, should they want to
[21]. According to Szala-Meneok [8], the following three
ethical principles namely respect for other people, good-
will and fairness is of utmost importance when working
with older people. The procedure as well as the objective
of the study was explained. Respondents were not misled.
All personal information was handled anonymously and
confidentially [22,23].
6.5. Data Processing
The standardised scale which measures qualities of
leadership, was processed by computer by using a com-
puter programme by Faul and Hanekom [10]. The Neeth-
ling Brain Instrument [24] was processed by computer
by using Neethling’s computer programme by Orton
(owner of a registered personnel agency). The goal is to
achieve triangulation of data by using different measure-
ing instruments. Each instrument has its weaknesses and
strengths, but through triangulation the strengths of one
instrument compensates for the weaknesses of another
procedure [16,25,26].
Findings will be discussed by making use of two
standardised measuring instruments, namely the Leader-
ship Qualities Inventory (LQI-S) and the Neethling Brain
Instrument (NBI). The researcher’s observation as well
as feedback from the respondents will also be discussed.
Each respondent’s results were marked out separately.
Respondents will receive the results at the end of the
study, and they will be given opportunity to discuss these.
For this study the researcher makes use of the partici-
pants’ average values. Each respondent measures differ-
ently—some have higher values, and some have lower
7.1. Leadership Qualities Inventory (LQI-S)
By making use of the Leadership Qualities Inventory
(LQI-S) [10] the following qualities were measured:
leadership, people-oriented, task-oriented and
self-oriented qualities. These qualities are measured
against the following directives
A score of more than 61 suggests optimal and healthy
A score between 55 and 60 is admonitory. A problem
may develop.
A score of 54 or less is a sign that there is room for
improvement, or that the quality is not fully activated (B.
Hanekom, personal communication, July 16, 2010).
Qualities with scores of 54 or less need to be worked on.
The total of this scale amounts to 100.
7.1.1. Leadership Dynamics
Leadership ability as shown in Figure 2 consists of
problem solving and leadership. Both these components
have scores higher than 61—this means optimal func-
tioning takes place. Problem Solving Ability: The Present Score
is 72
Personnel do not avoid problems and they do not get
overwhelmed by the size of problems. Problems do not
leave them feeling helpless and important decisions are
not being taken during times when personnel are feeling
depressed. Leadership Ability: The Present Score Is 65
The personnel can successfully manage people. They
can lead others and have the ability to get others to work
well together.
7.1.2. People-Oriented Qualities
People oriented qualities include servant hood, listen-
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M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12 5
ing skills, interpersonal skills and persuasion skills. The
first three qualities mentioned functions optimal, but
persuasion skills are under activated and leaves room for
The people oriented qualities as shown in Figure 3 are
discussed as follows: Servant Hood: The Present Score Is 81
Respondents are optimally available and willing to
help and serve others. Listening Skills: The Present Score Is 77
Involved respondents take great care to pay attention
to what others have to say; they pay attention to people
and pay attention to others body language when they
talk. Interpersonal Skills: The Present Score Is
The focus is not on what they can get out of people, it
is easy for the respondents to interact with people, to
work well with others, not to isolate themselves and to
relate to people. Persuasiveness: The Present Score Is 54
There is room for improvement in persuading others,
to influence others to follow, to communicate enthusias-
tically and to persuade others to think differently.
7.1.3. Task-Oriented Qualities
Commitment, initiative, responsibility and competence
forms part of task-oriented qualities. All four of these
qualities are functioning optimally.
The task-oriented qualities included commitment, ini-
tiative, responsibility and competence. The score of these
qualities are shown in Figure 4. Commitment: The Present Score Is 81
The respondents find it easy to set goals, live life to
the fullest, do not quit under difficult circumstances and
easily keep their promises. Initiative: The Present Score Is 77
Respondents are self-motivated, they are not counting
on others to keep them going, they handle problems
themselves, make things happen, do not let mistakes
hinder them and do not hesitate to take action. Responsibility: The Present Score Is 77
Respondents handle difficult situations with ease,
make decisions on their own, manage their lives, do not
count on other people’s abilities and have the ability to
finish tasks successfully. Competence: The Present Score Is 64
The respondents perform well in what they do, com-
plete tasks with success, are high achievers overall, other
people have trust in the way the respondents do their
work and the respondents pay undivided attention to
their duties.
7.1.4. Self-Oriented Qualities
Self-oriented qualities as indicated in Figure 5 include:
positive attitude, focus, passion, inner security and
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Problem solving ability
Leadership ability
Figure 2. Leadership dynamics.
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Listening skills
Interpersional skills
Figure 3. People-oriented qualities.
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M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Figure 4. Task-oriented qualities.
self-discipline. All these components function optimally,
which means that they scored higher than 61. Self-disci-
pline has the lowest score of 66 out of 100. Positive Attitude: The Present Score Is 79
The personnel at the participating service centres all
have a positive outlook on life. They are positive people,
optimistic and choose to trust others. Focus: The Present Score Is 75
The respondents focus on their strengths, important
tasks, on their priorities and focus on what they do well. Passion: The Present Score Is 74
The respondents are not discouraged by problems, are
excited and enthusiastic about life and live life to the
fullest. They enjoy what they do. Inner Security: The Present Score Is 74
It is clear from the study that respondents are not jeal-
ous of people more successful than themselves. They
experience security and are not afraid of abandonment. Self-Discipline: The Present Score Is 66
Respondents stay focussed on results, follow their pri-
orities, and develop systems to be successful. Self-disci-
pline is a lifestyle to them.
The average of the respondents leadership qualities are
as follow:
From the above leadership qualities as shown in His-
togram 1, it is clear that the three strongest leadership
components are:
1) Servant hood—score 81
Servant hood means to be serving others, to be of ser-
vice to others and to extend a helping hand to someone
else. They are available and willing to serve others and to
do good deeds for others. The empowerment programme
will have to teach the respondents to set boundaries and
not to serve others at their own cost.
2) Commitment—score 81
The personnel are committed and dedicated to their
work. They live life to the fullest and can still go on even
in difficult circumstances. They honour their promises.
The empowerment programme will have to focus on
giving direction to personnel’s commitment in respect of
what has to be done, and how to do it.
3) Positive attitude—score 79
A positive attitude can be characterised by security
that emphasises that which is praiseworthy and good.
The personnel have a positive outlook and attitude to-
wards life; they see the best in all situations and think
positively. The empowerment programme will once
again have to focus on what must be done, and how to do
The four weakest components or where there is scope
for improvement:
1) Persuasiveness—score 54
Persuasiveness is the ability to share knowledge and
ideas and convey a feeling of urgency and enthusiasm. It
is to convey a clear message and to motivate others to
react on the message. Personnel will have to be equipped
to be able to persuade others to follow set goals, and to
communicate with enthusiasm, and persuade others to
think differently.
2) Competence—score 64
Competence is the ability to communicate, plan and
execute a plan in such a way that others will see and
know that a person is able to do a certain task, and will
therefore follow the person. The programme will have to
focus on empowering personnel to achieve higher goals
and to successfully complete tasks, and by doing so, gain
other’s trust.
3) Leadership ability—score 65
Leadership skills are the ability and motivation to lead
others to follow a common goal, to motivate, and gain
their trust. The empowerment programme will have to
empower personnel to successfully manage, effectively
lead and help retired volunteers work better together.
4) Self-discipline—score 66
Self-discipline is the ability to discipline one’s own
feelings and desires with the objective to better one self.
he service centres’ personnel who works with retired T
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0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Positive attitude
Inner security
Figure 5. Self-oriented qualities.
Histogram 1. Summary of leadership qualities.
volunteers, have to be empowered to stay results focus-
sed, to be able to identify and focus on priorities and to
be able to develop systems that will lead them to success.
7.2. Reliability, Construct Validity and
The Cronbach Alpha-reliability, explorative factor
analysis and Kaiser’s measure showed that the standard-
ised questionnaire was reliable, construct valid and suffi-
cient [27].
The reliability of the standardised questionnaire (LQI-
S) was tested as follow.
The Cronbach Alpha-reliability must be higher than
0.5. According to the Cronbach Alpha-reliability study,
Table 2 above shows that the questionnaire in use is re-
liable and valid. The study population was compared to
the original standardised test.
Anastasi and Urbina [28] describe reliability as a test
that refers to the consistency of scores obtained by the
same people when they are re-examined by using the
same test on different occasions, or with a different sets
of equivalent items, or under different examining condi-
tions. The validity of a test lies in what the test measures,
and how well it does [28]. If the test is valid, it will
measure what it is suppose to measure.
Given the diversity of the participating respondents,
compilers of all studies who are involved in psychosocial
testing, should make provision for the reliability coeffi-
cient on the scores for the data analysis. Pedhazur and
Schmelkin [29] argues as follow: “Researchers who
bother at all to report reliability estimates for the instru-
ments they use (many do not) frequently report only re-
liability estimates contained in the manuals of the in-
struments or estimates reported by other researchers.
Such information may be useful for comparative pur-
poses, but it is imperative to recognise that the relevant
reliability estimate is the one obtained for the sample
used in the study under consideration.”
According to Nunnally and Bernstein [30], validity is
a matter of degree rather than an all-or-none property,
and validation is an unending process. The most psy-
chosocial measures must constantly be evaluated, and
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M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12
Table 2. Cronbach alpha-reliability.
Sub Scale
How the Test
Was Standardised
Leadership 0.69 0.87
solving skills 0.53 0.86
Persuasiveness 0.58 0.70
Listening skills 0.66 0.84
Interpersonal skills 0.64 0.88
Servanthood 0.65 0.87
Commitment 0.53 0.60
Competence 0.58 0.70
Initiative 0.46 0.84
Responsibility 0.52 0.82
Focus 0.65 0.72
Passion 0.83 0.82
Positive attitude 0.66 0.87
Inner security 0.56 0.83
Self-discipline 0.59 0.66
re-evaluated, to assure that they are behaving as they
More than one factor was withdrawn from the ubove
sub scales in Table 3—problem solving skills, compe-
tence, passion, positive attitude and self-discipline. The
sub scales consists of two components.
7.3. Neethling Brain Instrument
According to Neethling [31] the left brain has more
grey matter in relation to white matter, than the right
brain. The grey matter of the left brain is an indication of
how many organised facts a person has mastered, while
the white matter of the right brain is an indication of how
much visual, sensory and emotional information a person
can process, leading to intuition (“I feel something is
going to happen”-feeling). The technique consists out of
a variety of questionnaires that measures a person’s brain
functions for specific circumstances. A brain profile is
then compiled. The Neethling Brain Profile Instrument
accurately shows the thinking preferences of a person
and the implications thereof. The scale also shows the
non-dominant areas. The person has a choice if they want
to develop the skills and attitudes in these specific areas.
The left brain controls the right side of the body, and
the right brain controls the left side of the body [32].
If the person is a L1 dominant person, they cannot be-
come a R2 person, but they can learn how to behave
spontaneously and with ease in the other dimensions.
This is the biggest “battery” of the whole brain instru-
ment in the world. The rational of the technique is that a
person’s brain can be divided into four quadrants, as
shown in Table 4 each with its own brain functions [33].
According to Neethling and Rutherford [32], re-
search on the two hemispheres of the brain showed that
each hemisphere handles information differently.
Neethling [31] quotes Torrance’s practical explana-
tion of the characteristics of the left and right brain as
shown in Table 5.
Example of a left/right brain diary [32]
7.3.1. Dominant Left Brain
According to Neethling and Rutherford [32], the per-
son with strong L1 preferences will solve problems in a
logical way, will consider financial aspects, will be pre-
cise, and won’t show too much emotion. Factual accu-
racy and evaluation of facts will be important for this
The person with strong L2 preferences will choose to
organise things and be aware of important information.
Projects will be implemented without delay, financial
aspects will be considered with care and security will be
a priority [32].
7.3.2. Dominant Right Brain
Neethling and Rutherford (1996) says the person with
a R2 preference will have a ‘gut feeling’ for other people
and circumstances, will be able to read body language
and enjoys interaction.
Figure 6 shows that the person with a R1 preference
will see the greater picture, in stead of detail, will be
aware of the concealed possibilities, will not play by the
rules all the time, react on emotion rather than logic to
solve problems and they will rather like to do their own
thing [32].
According to Neethling, Rutherford and Prince [34],
no two persons are the same. Everyone have different
skills and abilities. The human being must use these
unique abilities to achieve much more than what looks
possible. Whole brain flexibility is an educational task
that should start with parents and teachers. The end result
of such a process is that we will experience a state of joy
and excitement in our relationships.
Graphic 1 represents the brain profile of the respon-
dents look like (F. Orton, personal communication, Sep-
tember 1, 2010):
The norm of the brain quadrants is 75. The respon-
dents tested as follow:
Analytical (L1)—79
Systemic (L2)—77
Strategic (R1)—69
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Table 3. Exploratory factor analysis.
Sub scale Number of factors withdrawn MSAPercentage variationCommonalities minimum Commonalities maximum
Leadership 1 0.6870.85% 0.68 0.87
Problem solving skills 2 0.8159.47% 0.32 0.75
Persuasiveness 1 0.5653.02% 0.31 0.79
Listening skills 1 0.7861.88% 0.36 0.72
Interpersonal skills 1 0.8066.94% 0.32 0.79
Servant hood 1 0.7280.44% 0.77 0.86
Commitment 1 0.7153.47% 0.10 0.72
Competence 2 0.6667.03% 0.53 0.76
Initiative 1 0.7657.34% 0.44 0.71
Responsibility 1 0.8360.52% 0.16 0.77
Focus 1 0.6859.71% 0.04 0.86
Passion 2 0.6670.65% 0.37 0.90
Positive attitude 2 0.7570.99% 0.46 0.87
Inner security 1 0.7470.63% 0.50 0.80
Self-discipline 2 0.5373.19% 0.49 0.93
Table 4. Brain quadrants.
Emotional (R2)—75.
Thus the respondents’ average brain preference is left
brain oriented. According to Neethling [31], people with
a left brain preference feels comfortable with the follow-
They analyse situations and problems in the finest de-
Have a logical and rational approach;
Gather facts;
Excels in accounting and financial calculations;
Approach problems in a practical manner;
Excels in organising and planning;
Develop detailed plans and procedures;
Likes rules, regulations and boundaries;
Give preference to administrative work;
Is comfortable with implementing tasks and instruct-
According to F. Orton (personal communication,
January 10, 2011), left brain dominancy is important for
personnel who primarily work with people, like retired
volunteers. It helps to maintain a healthy objectivity with
regard to the emotional right brain. Management styles
that suits the personnel, contributes to their commitment
to the service centre. Passion contributes to positive atti-
tudes with regard to service delivery to older persons.
The respondents were asked to voice their opinions on
the content of the measuring instruments:
“If you can learn something new, why not?”
“Thank you that you are willing to invest in the ser-
vice centre’s personnel. You made my week!”
“Now we feel more enthusiastic”
“This study brings hope”
“We have a huge desire to gain more knowledge on
retired volunteers”
“I am inspired again”
“Thank you for all the practical ideas. I look forward
in anticipation to make better use of the retired volun-
The strongest leadership qualities are servant hood,
commitment and positive attitude. These qualities are
important in non-profit organisations. The weakest com-
ponents, but not crisis components, are persuasiveness,
competence, leadership skills and self-discipline. The
empowerment programme must pay attention to persua-
siveness. Londt [35] makes the following statement:
The empowerment of volunteers forms part of the “
M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12
Table 5. Characteristics of the right and left brain.
Left brain Right brain
Remembers names Remembers faces
React on verbal instructions and explanations Reacts on demonstrated instructions (non-verbal and symbolic)
Does things systematic and controlled Does things spontaneous, rather than in logical order
Chooses to break up problems in smaller parts and solve it that way Chooses to solve a problem by looking at the whole picture
Likes planning and structure Shows spontaneity
Likes tested information Likes new, sometimes untested information
Mainly thinks and remembers in language Thinks and remembers mainly in pictures
Likes questions with multiple answers Likes open type questions
Likes circumstances with an authoritarian system Likes collegiate systems
Controls emotion very good Gives more freedom to emotions
Does not have a good understanding of body language Has a good understanding of body language
Uses the minimum metaphors and analogies Uses a lot of metaphorical language
January February March January February March
Marike 082 566 5985
Call Marike 082 566 5985
Dentist appointment Dr Dennis
Management meeting
Figure 6. Example of a left/right brain diary [32].
empowerment of communities”. Personnel and specifi-
cally the management of service centres do not have a
common body that trains personnel. The empowerment
programme will fill this gap with regards to gaining
knowledge. The average brain preference of the respon-
dents is left brain oriented. This is important for person-
nel working with people, because it helps to obtain a
healthy objectivity with regard to emotions. Even though
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M. S. J. van Rensburg / Advances in Aging Research 1 (2012) 1-12 11
Analitical Systematic Straegic Emotional
Gr o up
Graphic 1. Profile of the respondents.
the measurements scored well, there is still room for im-
provement and a need for an empowerment programme.
Personnel have a need for training, as the most service
centres does not supply these. They experienced the
Leadership Quality Inventory and Neethling’s Brain Pro-
file in a positive way.
The following recommendations were made:
The respondents must receive feedback on their lead-
ership qualities, as well as their brain profiles;
Personnel must be encouraged to expand their knowl-
edge with regard to their leadership qualities that scored
the highest, and should get guidance to improve other
If personnel and their colleagues know what their
brain preferences are, they will have a better understand-
ing of each other. This will lead to better team work;
The leadership qualities and brain preferences of per-
sonnel working with retired volunteers will form part of
the empowerment programme.
In this article the leadership-, people-oriented-, task-
oriented- and self-oriented qualities of personnel partici-
pating in the study, was discussed. The brain profile of
each member of personnel was determined and the find-
ings showed that participating personnel were mainly left
brain dominant. The profile further indicated that servant
hood, commitment and a positive attitude were the
strongest leadership qualities.
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