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7 Questions on Leadership with Lévi's LEMA

Name: Lévi's LEMA

Title: Manager

Organisation: Afriland First Bank CD

Professional, with a touch of humor, I hold a degree in economics and have over a decade of experience in the banking field. I specialize in contract negotiation, business development, and networking. As a certified Risk Manager, I am capable of managing risks and making informed decisions for the company. My knowledge in finance and accounting makes me a valuable asset for making strategic decisions. My motto is "Living to serve," which reflects my commitment to working collaboratively with colleagues and providing quality services to clients and the community.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Levi's's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As a leader, finding the balance between firmness and accessibility can be one of the most challenging tasks. Making decisions that may not please everyone while maintaining the trust and respect of your team is a significant challenge. Additionally, it is essential to remain resilient and adaptable in the face of uncertainty and constant change to be an effective leader.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

Through a combination of life experiences, education, mentorship, and continuous personal development, I have become the person I am today. My passion for my field, my constant desire to improve things, and my willingness to help others reach their full potential are all sources of motivation for me.

In February 2017, I had the incredible opportunity to be selected by the Bank for a 6-month training program on Audit & Risk Management in Yaoundé, Cameroon. I joined the renowned "Batch 12," which consisted of approximately 30 students from over 5 African countries. And guess what? I was chosen to be the Class Representative!

I wondered to myself, "Where do I begin and how?" After some reflection and trial and error, I realized that I needed to learn how to listen, ask the right questions, take action, and cultivate a taste for risk.

During those 6 months, I had the opportunity to thrive and give my best, just like my fellow classmates. We were more than just a team; we were like a big family. In fact, our WhatsApp group still exists to this day!

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

1. Morning Routine: I start my day with prayer and some exercises.

2. Planning: I review my schedule, update my task list, and prioritize my activities for the day.

3. Work: I begin my workday, which may include meetings, individual tasks, and dedicated time for strategic thinking or innovation.

4. Lunch Break: I take a break to eat and relax. I might also go for a quick walk or engage in other forms of exercise.

5. Return to Work: In the afternoon, I focus on additional tasks, meetings, or projects.

6. End of the Workday: I take time to assess what has been accomplished during the day, update my task list, and prepare for the next day.

7. Personal Time: After work, I make time to relax, spend time with family or friends, engage in reading, and other personal activities.

8. Bedtime: Quality sleep for performance and well-being.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

The importance of empathy.

Empathy is essential for connecting with others and improving communication, collaboration, and motivation within a team. It involves not only understanding the emotions and challenges of others but also acting accordingly to support them effectively. Even as an experienced leader, it is important to continue developing empathy.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

"Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman is a book that highlights the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. According to the author, the ability to understand and manage one's own emotions as well as those of others is essential to being a good leader. By reading this book, I have significantly strengthened my emotional intelligence, making me a more empathetic and responsive individual.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

I urge us, young leaders, to never stop learning. Leadership is not a fixed skill but a continuous journey of development and growth. No leader is perfect, and there are always opportunities for improvement. It is crucial to remain open to feedback, constantly seek new knowledge and skills, and be ready to adapt and evolve. Ultimately, the best leaders are those who commit to learning throughout their careers. Never overlook the power of continuous learning, as it will lead you to success as a leader.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

More than a decade ago, I underestimated myself and was afraid to take risks. I hesitated to engage in discussions with others out of fear of judgment, and I lacked the ability to convince or persuade my colleagues. But today, I am leading a team to whom I communicate my vision, and they embrace it enthusiastically. I am constantly pushing my team members to train and develop themselves for continuous and sustainable growth.

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