Wake up the resilient leader in you!

These are unpredictable times during which we cannot know from one day to the next how the Covid-19 pandemic will evolve. We can’t anticipate, nor control, the measures our leaders will take. I feel I have been through this before, with a different dimension. I am Congolese from Goma, and I am part of the unlucky, or lucky, generation that has lived in a Congo at war for two decades. But this war against Covid 19 is different: we can’t see the enemy, only the damage it is causing.

Our clients, the civil society organisations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Ivory Coast are not yet at the height of the pandemic. And yet, it shouldn’t take long, even if we can tell the authorities and populations have not yet taken into account the severity of the situation. They are waiting for the worst to happen and might be anticipating different scenarios. And you, as an actor of change, a civil society actor, what can you do?

Having a strategy is useful, but it is only by constantly evolving that we can make a difference in a context where things change daily. This requires us to utilise all our resilience capacities. Some of us feel helpless in this situation; the opposite would be surprising. I know very well this feeling of helplessness, this feeling of wanting someone or something to take charge, of wanting to stop counting or thinking, of living and not surviving…

Many aspire to more control than it’s possible to have. According to Vaughn G. Sinclair, resilience – maintaining one’s balance under pressure – is one of the most important competences for leaders of all levels. “It is not about how to avoid difficulties and stress – this is almost impossible” she says. “It is about knowing how to face them”. In reality, what we do have at least some control over, is the way we learn and manage these difficult times. This crisis will end. The world will have changed, and so will we. Our capacity to face stress, illness and change improves when we take better care of ourselves and think about our experience. Imagine looking at the leader you have now become. Who is this wiser and more resilient leader? How have they behaved, and driven others? How did they contribute to bringing an end to the crisis?

Here is a coaching exercise I have recorded for you; it will take about five minutes. This exercise will help you connect to your dearest values and find an aim, starting from where you are right now. You will be able to call on this leader in your daily actions, a kind of ‘secular prayer’, a positive visualisation! Uncertainty and disruptions are an excellent occasion to get to know yourself and to flourish. Your choices of leadership today have a considerable impact on others and on the leader you are becoming. Please click here to listen to the exercise (in French). 

Myself and all my colleagues at Well Grounded are grateful for going through this situation together. We are together!

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About the author

Mireille Kayijamahe

Mireille has worked for Well Grounded at our regional office in Yaoundé since it was set up in February 2012. She is from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mireille studied business management and international trade in the DRC. She also has a Master’s degree in the Management of International Development and Humanitarian Aid Organisations.

Mireille worked for five years in the Congo and the Great Lake region, and for two years in the Caribbean.

Mireille has a continuing interest in organisation development and in support for organisational change management.