The fives things I talked about in an IPSF Leaders-in-Training workshop in Uganda

By Kennedy Odokonyero

Last month, I was privileged to speak to pharmacy students in Uganda on the invitation of Uganda Pharmaceutical Students Association (UPSA). UPSA had organised an IPSF Leaders-in-Training (LIT) workshop, the first of its kind in Uganda. According to the IPSF LIT guidelines, the training aims to develop a quality and sustainable leadership programme for pharmacy and pharmaceutical students and recent graduates worldwide. It provides  students with leadership, management and advocacy skills.

The purpose of my talk was to inspire the students to take on leadership positions. When Mr. Anyase Ronald Amaza, the outgoing President of Makerere University Pharmacy Students Association (my alma mater), asked me to give the talk, my first thought was that I have really grown that old! Well, it’s mostly old people who are invited to inspire the young generation.


My talk centred on the lessons I have learned and continue to learn in my leadership journey. It’s fair to say I have grown some grey hair of wisdom when it comes especially to leadership in student lead organisations. A look at my LinkedIn profile says it all.

In this article, I will share with you the five lessons I highlighted in my presentation:

  1. Leadership is inevitable in life. The sooner you realise that, the better. You can’t run away from leadership. At some point, you’ll have to become a leader by default; be it at home, workplace or your community. The time is therefore now to take up any leadership opportunity that knocks on your door. It’ll give the experience to be the great leader you have to be when the time comes for you to become a leader by “force.”
  2. Take up leadership roles in things that you’re passionate about, because you’ll enjoy doing it. I am passionate about media. Most of my leadership positions has been in media. IPSF for example has more than 80 positions, you’ll surely find something that you like.
  3. Self-motivation is important to keep you going. There’ll be hard and challenging times. Times when you’d wish to throw in the towel. I vividly remember when I was the Finance Secretary of Makerere University College of Health Sciences Students Association, we were left with three days until  the College Dinner, but only about 20% of our budget was covered. There was no one to look up to because everyone on the team was just totally stressed. Self-motivation will come in handy in such scenarios. It helped me in chasing after sponsors. I didn’t want the books of history to say that our team failed to organise the dinner.
  4. Once you take up a position, be serious, don’t just ‘pass time.’ I work with a lot of student leaders from across the globe. A few don’t take their work seriously. A whole one month deadline for accomplishing a simple task passes without them meeting it. As Mitchelle Masuko, the 62nd IPSF World Congress Chairperson told me in an interview in March, “In all you do, strive to go beyond expectations.” What kind of impact are you leaving behind? What will people you lead say about you when your term of office ends? After you leave, will get invited back to deliver a talk?
  5. Learn, learn and learn about leadership because that’s the only way of becoming better in the craft. I found myself struggling a lot of times. I realised I couldn’t do it all by myself. I needed to learn leadership styles, communication, team motivation, ethics, etc. I successfully applied for a leadership training programme. It has helped me a lot. There’re lots of leadership courses online, sign up for them. Many leadership academies for young people are out there , please apply for them.

 


Mr. Kennedy is the Regional Media and Publications Officer of the IPSF African Regional Office. rmpo@afro.ipsf.org Twitter: @OdoKent

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