What really matters for success, character, happiness and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ — not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.” — Daniel Goleman.
In commemoration of the 10 years of existence of the Young African Leaders Initiative (Mandela Washington Fellowship) created in 2010, some YALI Alumni as well as other youths with the support of the Open Dreams organization teamed up to organize a YALILearns session on Emotional Intelligence among young leaders.
In this age, where there is an upsurge of the <<leadership phenomenon>> among youths across the continent, there is a necessity to redefine what leadership values should be upheld and propagated, notably emotional intelligence.
A hybrid Webinar with an onsite part at the Open Dreams Center in Yaoundé followed by an online meeting was held on the 2nd of August 2020 with prominent young leaders who dwelled on several topics concerning the youth and leadership in relation to emotional intelligence.
The zoom meeting kicked off at 4 p.m. starting with with a word of welcome from Nnane Anna Ntube, initiator of the webinar. She talked about the impact of YALI onsite and online training in the lives of leaders, a path much appreciated by Open Dreams as it values good leadership and excellence. The first presenter of the day was Gilbert Ngwaneh Miki, PhD Scholar at the University of Reading in UK, Graduate Mentor Coordinator at Open Dreams, Founder of the International Center for Vocational Development and a consultative member with the UN-Habitat on Global land tool Indicator who spoke on leadership profile building. He expressed the need for emerging and established leaders to constantly keep a check on their profile. He believes that every young leader ought to have a brand and live by it. The steps towards building a personal leadership brand are to identify values, understand current trends, decide where you can make a difference, craft your mission statement and live your brand! This explains how important brand/profile building as a leader is. It gives credibility.
This event was moderated by Timti Autricia Njang, herself a YALI Alumna. The second speaker for the day was Mikah Edwin. Edwin, is a Commonwealth scholar, Graduate Mentorship Coordinator at Open Dreams, YALI RLC Alumnus and co-founder of Model Initiative of Africa. Edwin centered his talk on Image management and upholding an upright image as a leader. A youth, in what he says, acts and does daily should incorporate aspects of the leadership image he wants to be recognized for! It is something which needs consistency and holds every time and everywhere. His presentation got us off our feet as it added more values on building a leadership profile. Image management comes with the way one behaves, talks, interact with others and even what gets shared on social media. He added that, a good leader verifies/filters information before sharing.
As third speaker, we had Chi Anestin Lum who talked about Energy management as a leader. She is a YALI RLC alumna, an Advocate for girls in STEM, Transform ELT’s Model Teacher, and an English and French Language Teacher in the Government Technical College, Ndimi in Yaounde - Cameroon. She also volunteers at Open Dreams as a language teacher and mentor. Anestin dwelled on the different sources of human energy which are the body, the mind, the emotions, and the spirit (which generate the energy of meaning and purpose). From her, we learned why it is necessary to focus on energy and not time. As learned, time might be a constant, but your available energy isn’t. We have less energy than time every day. Energy, unlike time, is renewable and expandable and you probably can tell how long you work on average each day, but can’t tell how much energy you have available to use each day.
Time management is about cranking through a “to do list” as fast as you can whereas energy management is about developing a core set of habits around your most important work. Conclusively, she ended on this note << Do what you’re best at when you’re at your best and leave activities that drain you to your off peak hours. This way, you will become far more productive and effective. >>
The last but not the least speaker of the day was Bill N. Agha, who is a certified Enterprise Design Thinking practitioner and co-creator, a YALI Network member/fellow, with a background in Computer Science and Journalism. Bill walked us through Emotional Intelligence for IT professionals/leaders. He employed the storytelling technique to share his experiences as an IT practitioner who was so used to his laptops and phones, so much so that he paid little attention to interacting with people, a glaring situation of what youths encounter today! His difficulties in interacting with people and even expressing himself caused a loophole in his relationship management as there was a lot about managing relationship with his immediate environment that he did not know. This often put him into conflicting situations with others. This brought him to understanding the importance of relationship management which entails a good measure of emotional intelligence.
Bill ended his speech by calling up on us all to ponder on how we manage our daily relationships both in our professional as well as community settings. For us to be emotionally intelligent leaders, we have to strike this balance to make a difference. Bill’s presentation came in as a conclusion to that of the previous presenters. It made it clear to note that leadership profile building, image management, energy management as a leader are all important in emotional intelligence.
The session ended with a series of questions, answers, and interesting interventions from participants at the Open Dreams Center as well as those online.
The webinar ended on a light tone with Nnane Anne Ntube YALI RLC alumna, teacher, outstanding author, poet and lead organizer of the webinar closing the day with beautiful words of thanks to all speakers, participants and the host organization, Open Dreams for making the event hold. A rendez-vous was taken for other programs when we all will have the opportunity to share and learn together ways of being exemplary youths to take our country and continent to where we want it to be.
Report by Timti Autricia Njang