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7 Questions on Leadership with Paternus Cleophace Niyegira

Name: Paternus Cleophace Niyegira

Title: Head-Centre for Advanced Leadership in Governance, Insurance and Finance

Organisation: Africa College of Insurance and Socail Protection

Paternus C. Niyegira holds a Bachelor Degree in Supplies and Procurement Management (BSPM Honors), Masters of Science in Leadership and Management with specific interest in Emotional Intelligence both acquired from East Africa. He is also hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems from African Regional Centre for Space Science and Information Technology in Nigeria with a focus on remote sensing platforms, sensors and ground systems.

He has more than ten years’ experience in Leadership and Management, working with Faith based and non faith based institutions in East Africa. He pays attention to the Concepts of National building, National moody and happiness. He is considered to be a positive, proactive and result driven person who keeps self improvement in communication, negotiation and emotional intelligence.

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

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


Jonno White

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

How to keep private life in the face of public and organizational life. In actual fact how you privately conduct all your life determines the public face and organizational life of your leadership. This is the most challenge I encounter in leading others. I have found a direct proportional link between Public Leadership Vs Private life.

In everyone's private moments is where has full autonomy of his/her power. At this level of leadership has arbitrary power on himself/herself. It is this time where develops how to conduct and lead the business around his/her world. How this managed paves a powerful strength, inspirational and transformational leadership to others. It is then, thus, vital to work on ourselves first when we think of organizational leadership, public leadership and social leadership. Throughout my understanding what leadership is 'Private life' becomes a powerful element that need to be properly and equally given attention.

How you come out of your home to the public is dictated by how you have been before you get out of your home. In simple words self discipline and the exercise of it. Setting personal standards and following them is a challenging thing, it denies you social life and certain societal perspective. You need to think different and accommodate the criticism. Leading begins in accommodation of such societal forces.

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

Despite being trained in Leadership and Management, being a leader wasn't from professional training but rather from the inner voice of taking part in the lives of others but above all loving own philosophical life that can have influence to others. The philosophy of my life is simple working for others for humanity.

This inner voice of being in the life of other comes from my family especially my parents and brothers. They brought us up int a sense of services to others. They were there for all without borders, they lived a selfless life and in their daily discourse was nothing than humanity. Both Parents were traditional healer, they had an exceptional knowledge of herbs and how they should be used.

My mother was a midwife as well so this hospitality nature of human service was not only her calling but rather a way of life. It is from this experience the love for others is impacted in me. Throughout my personal growth it came to be a part of me to be concerned with others. I then understood in later stage of my adolescence that leadership requires a fundamental base of knowledge.

This knowledge is both self-knowledge and professional training and above all the inner voice, passion and philosophy, a sense of purpose and dignity above all. Understanding this with a fore mentioned voice I decided to do self-examination and have honesty, candid and above all as myself hard questions of what am I really carrying to this generation and generations to come, is my life for fulfilling carnal desires(eat, sleep and marry), What message do I really is in the face of humanity and creations.

These question has never been with answers but they have shaped me to have a sense of character, humility, passion and love for others. Not only that but also takes me in day to day personal cultivation, molding, search for the role models and progressive learning. It is this foundation I had to study Leadership and Management and have a continue love to understand and know what it is to lead.

With the background in Christianity I have found Jesus Christ of Nazareth a key fundamental figure to reflect selflessly into the lives of others and firm foundation of what a leader should be. It is with this array of factors that makes me tell a story of my leadership. I have worked as the Administrative Manager of the oldest Institution in Tanzania under the Catholic Church which is about 61 year old for a period of 11 years.

Interacting with the needy, less disadvantaged and advantaged ironed my sense of commitment and passion to others, it is through this I can confidently say Leadership without passion and knowledge is like a tree without roots or you can put it this way a house without a foundation. I cannot at full and length that I have arrived at the position of leadership I say desire but I am on daily move towards it.

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

I always get up at 5AM everyday in the morning, prepare myself for a fresh day and at 6AM listen to the world news especially BBC Swahili, attend some personal prayers and then I live the home for work. I work up to 6pm. Thus then being said I can tell that it is structured in a sense that accommodates self and others. I have spend at maximum 3hours before I sleep at 11.30 listening various speakers on several issues ranging from business, philosophy arts and music, poem and drummer.

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

The knowledge of emotional intelligence in today's life holds a great key for a leader and executives.This is comes about two main things one COVID-19 pandemic and the highly rising use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The two factors has shaped and socially transformed the way human beings are taken.

The world especially highly developed nations are highly considering the use of AI, spreading it to all global developed and not highly developed nations that such like nature is noble. This is causing a dived and lessening concentration on human intelligence, human interaction, relations and human passion.

It is by these two factors the significance and thorough understanding of emotional Intelligence becomes key and core of embracing human happiness, exploring human creativity and high thinking. COVID-19 taught us a lesson of social self and how is it significant in human association.

AI re-inverting the social order, social association and civilization. In the world such like this, full of new world order definition, full of uncertainties and not proper futuristic full awareness leaders require to have knowledge on Emotional Intelligence to harness this human relations perspective.

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?

The Bible! I allow myself to call it a book and I take it so. A question of being holy is a matter of definition and faith which I cherish and hold dear. The Bible has a strong of both economic development as well as personal development and leadership. The bible speaks about values and traits necessary to lead nations and economies. Defines ones effectiveness from adhering to the principles of love for others. In actual fact not waging wars against nations and fellow human being is not an act of anything more than love and love is a self undertaking adventure!

Ills such as corruption, lacking a sense of accountability, not being answerable to authorities rise from lack of personal understanding in which in a great sense lack of leadership. As a matter of fact it said in the very same book that when there is no knowledge people perish. The bible defines the world's greatness from small things, that's why it is said that if you are believed in small things you will trusted in much. The bible has given me a spectacle eye to look into my understanding myself as to seek to understand others. Leadership falls there in.

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

The knowledge of both self and others is the key great responsibility of leadership. Seek to understand your inner voice and develop a passion to live by it. Leadership comes from truly knowing who you are, what do you carry to your generation and generations to come. Leadership means responsibility beyond measure, believing in your self and welcoming new thoughts even if are thoughts that are against yourself is a necessity to self transcendence. The key to leadership begins with understanding yourself and so shall others fall. Invest in knowing yourself better than AI and any other forms this shall give you meaning and leadership abilities.

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

One time, one of my workers got into my desk so weak, she looked tired and kind of in deep thoughts and asked me before I did ask her that boss a name (I did not liked to be called) and said will it look awkward to the 'boss' to say to her worker you are smart? As before I responded she again gave me a story that on the previous day she met a kid of about 6 years crying while walking home after pleaded with her not to cry and to take it easy asked the kid where is your mother? The kid replied she is at home with her phones! Among others this captured my attention on Leadership. This is how I am reminded of who a leader is. A person who should be there all the time and take into great details in caring others.

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