How I have learned to be a Collaborative Leader

Written by: Esther Muna; a fourth year student at University of Nairobi and a Lapid Leader

Throughout my life, I knew that there are certain personality types that I could not work well with. I did not think I could accommodate these personality types due to my own personality. I have been brought up in a space where I had to think and act very fast. As a result, I had no room for people who I considered ‘slow’ or people who took time to make decisions. When I was assigned the task of being the Assistant Leader for the Lapid Leaders Group that I was in, I knew it would be a challenge because patience is not something I naturally have. Throughout the 3 months of the program, I have dealt with group dynamics and drama that stretched my patience to the limit. I would get really mad when I saw any one of the group members taking time to do or say something. It would annoy me to the point where I would end up doing it myself. I ended up finishing people’s sentences, doing people’s duties, and concluding my own things when people took long in doing something.


This behavior did not amuse most of my group members. During one of the Group Meetings, we held a session where we would evaluate each other. We pointed out each other’s weaknesses and strengths with an aim of helping each other build on our strengths and tame our weaknesses. During this session, I realized that most of my group members were not pleased with my ‘impatient’ behavior. They quickly pointed this out and indicated that they felt that I was intimidating and that I never gave them time to be themselves.

At first, I felt really offended. However, through the various lessons I learnt during the Lapid Leaders Program (you can learn more about the program here), I realised that I needed to improve on my communication skills and listening skills. This began my journey towards training myself to be patient with people. I began to give the group members room to express themselves and where they got stuck, I came in and patiently explained to them.

The journey of a thousand miles beging with one step - Lao Tzu

It has not an easy journey, but I have learnt that when you give everyone their space and room for growth, they will shock you with the quality of content they have. You also are able to learn from your team members by being patient with them. There are things I did not know that I got to learn by being patient.

I have then applied the same concept in my life. I am striving to be more of a listener than a ‘talker’. I am learning to be patient with everyone and appreciate everyone’s differences. It is still something that I am working on but I have greatly improved on my levels of patience. I even realized that those who take time before doing something or saying something, are good analysts. They see what most of us don’t see because they take their time.

That has been one of the MAJOR lesson I have learnt as a Lapid Leader – Juggernaut (Juggernaut is the name of my group).


Share your thoughts

What kind of leader are you? Is your personality hindering you from being a Collaborative Leader? Are you taking the time to listen to your team? If you have struggled with this, share your experience in the comments below. If you have been led by an impatient leader like I was, share your comments as well. I want to learn from you. Also check out this blog here on why collaboration is so important to us!



  1. You sound a lot like me Esther. I am still struggling with patience in a group I lead. It takes a lot of will power to accomodate people i consider slow and boring. However,slowly,I am learning to take people as they are and learn to appreciate. Though hard, im still learning the art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Becky.
      Yes it is a struggle that most of us are going through and some dont even realise it.
      Now that we know were our weakness lies,it is our responsibility as leaders in whatever space we are in to work on it. As we also encourage others with the same weakness to realise and work on it.
      That way we grow to be effective leaders wherever we go.

      Thank you for your comment Becky,looking forwad to hearing more about your experiences and lessons as a leader.


  2. Muna thanks for sharing. Again its the same story with me!! I have learnt that investing patience is sure to get dividends when it comes to relationships and working with people. Its a long term project….


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