Leadership 123, ABC

By Desideria Mwegelo ~ Head of Marketing & Communications at Stanbic on 17 Apr 2020Leadership


Leadership Unconventional

Congratulations! Monday morning you will start your new job leading a team of x people.  It just so happens that this is also your first time leading a team and you are both eager to get at it as well as nervous that you may quite easily make a mess of everything.  Pull up a comfy chair, grab a warm cup of tea and settle in for an easy read on the basics that over the years I have found to be quite effective in not only leading a team but also set them on the right path to realizing their full potential. What I am about to share is not revolutionary, but if applied consistently it will prove to be just what you need to be an effective leader.

If you remember nothing else after reading this, remember that to be an effective leader you must lead with empathy.  Empathy is your ability to understand and share the feelings of another – simply put it’s being able to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes.  The corporate world traditionally used to frown on acknowledging emotions in the work space but with the job market and your average employee being more fluid in how they want to work and can work, it has required that this premise be revisited.  An empathetic leader will get a team that does more than just deliver – they will get a team that goes the extra mile because they are invested in the work as their leader is invested in them.

GENUINELY appreciate work done well.  Do not take it for granted.  It may very well be their job, but simple recognition can go a long way in inspiring greater effort and delivery on future work.  These celebrations can be as simple as a note of appreciation or as elaborate as having their picture on a wall of fame for all to see. Showing appreciation consistently almost always inspires more great work.

Reprimand privately. No one likes to be shamed publicly for falling short off the mark. Old school leadership worked on fear and would therefore apply readily the public shaming. All this does is it makes the team less eager to step out and try new things because they fear failing and what comes with it.  Make it a point to pull the team member to the side and use the ‘mistake’ as an opportunity to teach and help the team member grow.

Never be too proud to admit that you are wrong.  Equally, never feel the need to have all the answers.  As a leader you will earn your team’s respect when they can see that you can own your own mistakes and that you are not always the well of knowledge.  It gives them room to add to your growth and this is where the magic starts to happen – where trust blooms.  This will also humanize you to your team and it will allow them to relate better with you.  When your team can see their leader be humble enough to own mistakes it will inspire trust in them that will allow them to go above and beyond.


Last, but certainly not least, be authentic.  Authenticity is not about being nice but rather it is about leading your team with principled consistency. By nature, we all want to engage with people that we know we can trust.  At the heart of that trust is knowing that the person is being genuine in their engagement. The team may not always appreciate what you say, but they will appreciate the approach in the long run in that it is both principled and consistent thus making you reliable.  Authenticity is also about not shying away from conflict.  It is embracing that where views differ there is an opportunity to learn and grow.  As a leader you are always growing because as you grow, your team does the same. 

Today, I stop here.  Now go be great!


By Desideria Mwegelo ~ Head of Marketing & Communications at Stanbic Bank Tanzania