Ministry of Trade PS Geraldine Ssali in Anti-Corruption court dock Ministry of Trade PS Geraldine Ssali in dock at the Anti-Corruption

Adjusting to my leadership role

Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U). 

What you need to know:

I was appointed to lead a team in one of our country offices, I am excited but also nervous.

Dear Caroline, I completed my leadership development programme a few months ago and was appointed to lead a team in one of our country offices. I am excited but also nervous. I know I have had a lot of leadership and management training, so I know the theory; however, I am working with an upcountry team in a new environment with cultural differences compared to the teams in Kampala. What would be your list of dos and don’ts as I transition? 


Congratulations on your promotion Philip. I am glad your organisation has equipped you with the skills and technical knowledge to lead others. It is now about putting it into practice. The transition into leadership has some sacred ground rules you must never forget:

1. Everyone contributes to the team. Everyone on your team is a valued member. It is important to remember that as you settle down, listen to the ‘stories’.

2. Everyone in the team is a professional and each has motivation and vision of what they want to achieve. It would be best if you took the time to get to know each team member, what motivates them and what makes them tick.

3. One of the critical aspects of your leadership is to provide a platform for your team to share their ideas. Please encourage them to dream big and work together to realise those ideas. Remember, open communication is the key to a successful team.

4. Focus on building a team that can leverage each other’s strengths so they work as a team and celebrate success.

5. Create a safe environment for your team to communicate their concerns without reprimand.

When leading your team, be prepared to do the hard work that many leaders shy away from but that can damage the team.

1. As the saying goes, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This means taking ownership of the team culture. If your vision and values have been agreed upon, hold each member of your team accountable for behaving in a manner that speaks to those values so you have the right culture for success.

2. In the same way that you will hold the team accountable for their behaviour, you will also hold them responsible for delivering what they have promised - this speaks to their commitment and ownership to themselves and the whole team.

3. Do not allow the formation of cliques that will harm the team. Please note and be aware that you can have positive cliques that hold others accountable.

4. Be ready to take ownership of team decisions that may go wrong; as the saying goes, the “buck stops with me”.

5. Be open to saying, “I do not have the answer, but let me find out”, and “I do not know how to do this, but I am willing to learn.”

Philip, these may seem difficult, but combined with your skilling, you should be well. Good luck with your leadership journey.

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U)