How to lead a team of leaders

Friday July 19 2019

Work relationships. Do your best to create

Work relationships. Do your best to create rapport with each team member at an individual level. This enables them express their views about your leadership freely and constructively. Photo from 

By Charlotte Ninsiima

Effective and true leadership does not seek to be served but to serve. Leadership that serves is result-oriented.

Eddie Ivan Kaweela, associate leadership coach at Solutions Africa, says a leader must learn the principles that make one rally others effectively.

This is reiterated in leadership expert, John C. Maxwell’s definition of leadership. He defines leadership as influence, nothing less, nothing more. This means ones’ ability to get people to do and think what one believes in.

Any leader given charge over others must deal with their team effectively. However, in doing this, there are challenges one is likely to face especially if their team is made up of people who are also leaders elsewhere.

Kaweela explains that some team members might be older, more accomplished, wealthier or might have attained more education than the team leader. When this is the case, there is a tendency for the team leader to be intimidated. But that should not be the case.

“Leadership is not about knowing it all but being able to bring together a team that helps one accomplish their goals. It is, therefore, important to understand that no one knows it all. Instead of competing with your team members, it is better to bring them on board and work with them.”


A leader should be confident enough to create partnerships with the people they are working with to avoid intimidation.

Julie Musoke, the deputy district executive secretary of Rotaractors says, leading Rotaractors who are volunteers and don’t owe you any explanation if they do not turn up for activities is not easy. She says in such cases, it is vital to focus on their needs and growth.

Leaders don’t want to be led
Leaders tend to assume everyone else is not qualified enough. Kaweela advises that in such situations it is very tempting to want to show the other people your superiority but the best way to deal with this is not fight back but encourage dialogue to find a way forward.

Before you dismiss critique from your team members about your leadership style, evaluate yourself instead of going on the defensive.

“There is a saying that, ‘the higher the monkey climbs, the more it exposes its bottom’. Meaning that once you are in a leadership position, it’s easy for others to see your short comings and flaws.” Kaweela says.
To ease your tenure as a team player, there are a few tenets to live by.

Clear vision
Ambrose Byamugisha, the managing director of Ambrosoli Consult Uganda Limited says because of their influence, the onus is on leaders to set the pace at a workplace. The best way to do this is by sharing a clear vision and plan.

People feel safer when they know what your plans are. Sharing plans makes the team feel included. Kaweela stresses that spelling out where you want your people to go in a specified period of time will determine whether the team will fight you or join you.

Leadership demands courage. Leaders ought to be able to stand difficult conversations and face problems and resistance that might arise.
“Confidence is good but too much of it creates arrogance. Kaweela warns.

Mr Byamugisha says a leader must learn to delegate duties, whether directly or indirectly.
As a leader, you must deploy effectively. Do not let anyone stay on your team if they are not doing anything. They must be doing something at any one time.
Understand each one’s strength and deploy them accordingly. They always want to show that they are capable of something, so make them feel useful.

Establish systems
When people know what, how and when to do their duties, there is very little room left to argue with you.

There should be clarity on who to report to or incorporate within the work chain. There should also be clarity on workplace culture.

“Establish a working style, principles and values that determine the culture that drives the organisation’s behaviour and activities,” Byamugisha says. Without structures or processes, it is difficult to instill discipline.