We’re all leaders in one way or another, even if we don’t think of ourselves as such. At our forum recently, three leaders from three Clusters shared their thoughts on what helps them lead in their own work. Here’s some of what they said... DOROTHY KAWIRA Palliative Care Nurse, Mara Cluster (Tanzania)
1. Women are proven leaders. In Tanzania, a woman’s role has traditionally been in the home. As a home-maker, women show loyalty, empathy, compassion and sensitivity. They manage complex and multiple roles. They create a safe environment so that others can flourish. They see both the big picture and the small details. They set their ego aside, they grow relationships and they build bridges. All of these are crucial leadership skills, and are much needed throughout our society. And today, more and more we are starting to see women handle leadership roles in wider society using exactly these skills. Learn from the leaders that inspire you. Many leaders inspire me. One of them is our co-leader Elizabeth Wainwright. She’s a compassionate, effective communicator. She’s full of confidence and strong in skills of creativity. I admire Uttarakhand Cluster President Madhu Singh too. She’s trustworthy and full of loyalty and empathy. Also, the former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. She said “power is nothing unless you can turn it into influence”. She brought people together and made difficult decisions. Ask yourself, who are your favourite leaders? And what can you learn from them? Great leaders take people where they ought to go, not necessarily where they want to go. This is something we have to consider in our Clusters – we want our communities to escape donor dependency, and to direct their own future. They may not yet be ready, but we can help them get ready. And so we need to be effective communicators: this means listening, as well as speaking. We need to understand and manage our own emotions, as well as those around us. We need to have the confidence to do what they believe is right, but also the humility to accept that they will fail on occasion. We are all human – even the greatest leaders! 2. SEDEVI ANGAMI Hospital Director, North East Cluster (India)
Give people a great vision. If an earthquake were to hit us and destroy our campus, having a vision that is inspiring, dynamic and progressive means that our work will continue and bear fruit. A great vision gives a team focus. It helps them develop a passion and purpose for their vocation, and it helps them overcome difficulties when things get rough or monotonous. For my own team, our vision is “comprehensive capacity building of health for the people of the state and region”. What’s your vision? Aim To Be Dispensable. Nothing is original or new under the sun, and so we cannot claim a monopoly over anything we have. This means we should be generous in giving information, knowledge and also material things. We should also aim to be dispensable, not indispensable. This way, even if you are not there, the team will manage without you. If we focus on building the kingdom of God rather than our own institution, then we experience more freedom and we hold on to things more lightly. Encourage A Sense of Wonder. Things can get monotonous pretty fast and so it’s good to try out new things at a good pace. It helps people feel that they are part of an exciting and progressive organisation. Some of these endeavors will fail. However, others will succeed. Not being afraid to fail and willing to try out new things from inexperienced staff helps people gain confidence. Creating mental space for failure also helps us accept and anticipate inevitable difficulties we might face. 3. DAN RONOH Youth Leader, Kericho Cluster (Kenya)
Listen. When you listen you learn. And with this learning you can better serve those you listen to. For example, the trends and needs of young people change fast, and we must change with them. I like to promote what I call “constructive fun” with youth. We’ve held talent festivals in the past, where schoolchildren can share the things that they are passionate about, and that they’re good at. This helps encourage them to pursue their particular passions and to build their confidence. As we learn about their talent and passion, we can better nurture this talent and passion. Celebrate good role models. We have many corrupt leaders in our society, and this shapes young people’s perception of what a leader ought to be like. Corruption degrades the value system of a community, and it creates a sense of hopelessness among the young people, since it makes them feel that they cannot access services easily without having to give a bribe. And so it’s important that we need good mentors and role models. We can play that role. And we can also share stories of other good role models. Provide Opportunities. There is no handbook for young people to navigate their future, but we can provide helpful signposts. We work to create awareness of existing opportunities available to them. And where these opportunities don’t exist, we work to create them. For example, our Cluster members teach digital literacy and social enterprise. We also help youth to participate in national symposiums and conferences, to help youth develop confidence and maturity.
Read more highlights from the forum in this article here.