Professor BAGIRE Vincent
Sometime in 2005 I wrote a paper with this same title in Leadership Magazine. Over the years I have lived to see practical insights in this very aspect. We have come to another team due to take over the leadership of HOIDERA. As I retire out, after long smithereens of my tenure, possibly the longest among those who have led this association. I will blow my trumpet first to contextualize the article on a winning attitude. I was first co-opted on Hoidera executive in 1991. I later served a tenure as coordinator for youth/students. I then served on various executive teams as mobilizer (twice), publicity, Secretary and Vice president (twice). I now humbly step out but accepted to be among the Trustees for MEPA. Not a higher notch leadership but it is again service with a positive attitude.
Thinking about all that we have done and are involved in, that voluntary spirit that has kept Hoidera moving on, and other church associations /movements that we belong to is a God given. I know many times the leaders feel torn apart, at worst many potential leaders will decline, the unpopular phrase that I do not like to hear: … “I stand down!” At first I feel it is bad English (we stand up not down).
At one time Hoidera was at the blink of having no leadership if it were not for few people to have a winning attitude and kept on albeit the stress to do so. And later a team of us agreed to take up the leadership and steered the association through the turbulent times. This has occurred twice in my era. The recent being the Katongore tenure where he nearly remained alone but soldiered on. In the past phases that I have witnessed, Hoidera did not have a home, but was c/o Christ the King parish, physically, postal and otherwise. There were no mobile phones of course. I was a mobilizer! No social media as we have today, no FM radios. Only radio Uganda reigned the waves. To get information to people to come for meetings was my night mare. Even the turn up was always very low. I remember walking to institutions with cluster members like Makerere, Kyambogo and Mulago to use word of mouth to mobilize people.
We can see how time flies and times change. I wish to quickly recollect what I have learned from this and many other leadership roles. In the course of the years many events have taken place; all of us have achieved something at least and may have failed in several others. But the pleasing thought is that life goes on. We lost dear ones, lacked money, missed an enjoyment and got annoyed, the list is endless. We shall all get to that point of breakdown if it does not reign along the way keeping a winning attitude in all distresses of our time. Quite often we realise less results than we expected. As years pass by into the past, we must prepare to face the uncertain future with determination and courage. It is by understanding oneself that we develop a positive attitude to life. Management is about situations and attitudes. I have noted that in organisations and groups we are all busy chasing physical resources to be able to survive. Leaders in many groups spend much of the time pushing agendas to produce results. Less attention is ever put on attitudes that drive people.
Successful leaders and members of a group use words that look to the positive side of every situation –
- My best years are still ahead of me.
- I did not do well this time, but am sure to do better next time.
- With a little better planning I am sure to achieve this. Etc.
The way we talk of achievements, our failures and ourselves affects our confidence. Psychologists have noted that the body often reacts and plays to the tune of our thoughts. It is common knowledge that in family the words parents often use towards the children help in building their character. Like wise in organisations, the words of the leaders affect the performance of the people. We must note that leadership is about state of affairs and assertiveness – these are software drivers that get us moving towards the desired goals.
The following talk for example characterize the failure identity:
- I can’t do any thing in life.
- Iam inferior to all the rest.
- I have many problems that overwhelm me.
- My problems are greater than those of others.
- I wish I were some one else.
- My memory is poor
- What wrong did I do to deserve all this?
- It is all God’s plan to have these problems
Such phrases kept long on our minds create a variety of negative emotions like boredom, anxiety, fatigue, self-pity, loneliness, misery and depression. The end results: mistakes at work, poor performance, being quarrelsome, and definitely continuous loss of self-direction. For any such voluntary leadership like Hoidera, the ….I stand down…..becomes common.
The Successful identity talk.
- I am sure I will do that.
- If others did, why not me.
- I look forward to trying that task.
- I have accomplished many things I tried.
- I have talents just like others.
- Let us do it
- I volunteer to take up that role
Indeed good leaders accept themselves as they are, expect others to accept them, have reasonable pride in themselves, praise their accomplishments and develop the urge to try out new things always. This is the winning attitude.
Iam happy to have kept the page with Hoidera and have seen it from c/o …address to an owned ground. Many times to lead such group is not easy. Members who know my schedules and those of all leaders on the executive, will bear wondering where do we get the time? Again, it is a matter of having a winning attitude. It is attitude rather than having the money, the time, etc. that we accept to lead. Equally, all these evils that have killed the zeal in many groups that we belong to, read of corruption, lack of commitment, dodging meetings, not contributing to events, not subscribing; It is all about attitude.
We all need a continuous self re-examination. Many small things often get our winner-self overtaken by the loser-person in us. There are many instances where we have failed when actually we should n’t have. I was recently on an interview panel where I tested a candidate on this attitude. After she had answered many questions very well, I observed her gaining the winning attitude. Perusing her papers one of her interests was meeting new people.
I asked her if she knew any of us on the panel before. She did not. So she had met new people and I wanted to know what the interest was. She answered well that she had learnt a lot from us in the short time, she had been disposed to people of our calibre. I then asked what her weaknesses in life were. She insisted that she was not aware of any. I challenged her interest of being interested in meeting new people and not taking a moment to discover her-self, to know her own self. Wasn’t this a weakness in itself? She looked at me in disbelief. Realising how the other panellists had taken interest in the challenge, she fumbled for an answer but it was not forthcoming.
Well, how many of us curse passing times for not having been good – how does life in a year itself become good or bad. It is what we make of it. It is about managing situations and attitudes. Thank you if you do not make the leadership of Hoidera a pain. There are many pressing things but developing Christian leadership is one small contribution that the church is yearning for. Blessings to us ending our executive role and winning successes with the new team. I wish you Godspeed.
This article was written for the HOIDERA magazine.