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7 Questions on Leadership with Shepherd Maverudze

Name: Shepherd Maverudze

Title: DHIIS2 DEVELOPER /Global consultnat (Health information systerms)

Organisation: International Medical corps

Male . aged 30

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

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


Jonno White

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

Balancing Technical Expertise and Leadership: As a DHIS2 developer and health information system specialist, transitioning from a technical role to a leadership position can be challenging. You need to balance deep technical expertise with broader leadership skills like strategic planning, team management, and decision-making.

Resource Constraints: NGOs, especially in the public health sector, often operate under tight budgets and limited resources. This can make it challenging to implement projects effectively, requiring innovative solutions and efficient resource management.

Managing Diverse Teams: Working in NGOs, you likely lead teams with diverse backgrounds, skills, and expectations. Ensuring effective communication, fostering a collaborative environment, and addressing individual needs while keeping the team focused on common goals can be challenging.

Stakeholder Engagement: Balancing the expectations and requirements of various stakeholders, including community members, funding bodies, government entities, and partner organizations requires diplomatic and negotiation skills.

Data-Driven Decision Making: In your role, making decisions based on data is crucial. However, the challenge often lies in ensuring data quality, interpreting it correctly, and using it to make informed decisions that align with your organization’s mission and the communities’ needs.

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

My path to leadership began as a DHIS2 Developer and Health Information System Specialist in the public health sector, focusing on HIV-related programming and community-led monitoring in Zimbabwe and international NGOs. My technical expertise and deep understanding of public health data systems laid the foundation.

My transition to leadership was a natural progression driven by my commitment to public health and my growing interest in broader project impacts. I started by leading small projects, which gradually increased in scope and complexity. My ability to bridge technical and strategic aspects of projects, coupled with my skills in team collaboration and stakeholder engagement, positioned me as a leader in my field.

Key turning points included successful project implementations and my proactive involvement in strategic planning and decision-making processes. Recognizing the value of my contributions, my organization entrusted me with larger responsibilities, eventually leading to formal leadership roles.

Throughout, my focus has remained on improving health outcomes and ensuring that data-driven strategies are effectively implemented in community settings. This journey reflects my evolution from a technical expert to a strategic leader, continually learning and adapting to the dynamic field of public health.

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


Wake Up and Personal Routine: Start with a morning routine including exercise, breakfast, and reviewing my schedule for the day.

Review and Planning: Begin work by reviewing emails and messages to prioritize tasks. Update my to-do list, focusing on urgent and important tasks related to DHIS2 development and health information systems.


Technical Work: Dive into technical work, which might include coding, database management, or troubleshooting issues in DHIS2.

Meetings and Collaboration: Attend any scheduled meetings, which could be project updates, team check-ins, or discussions with stakeholders.


Continued Project Work: Focus on ongoing projects, which could involve data analysis, system development, or collaboration with other team members.

Administrative Tasks: Address administrative tasks, such as reporting, documentation, or planning for upcoming deadlines.

Late Afternoon:

Wrap-Up and Review: Review the day's progress, update project statuses, and set preliminary goals for the next day.

Communication: Respond to any pending emails or messages to ensure clear and timely communication with the team and stakeholders.


Personal Time and Relaxation: Wind down from work, engage in personal activities or hobbies, and spend time with family or friends.

Preparation for Tomorrow: Briefly review the next day’s schedule to mentally prepare.


Sleep: Ensure adequate rest to maintain productivity and well-being.

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

As a DHIS2 Developer and Health Information System Specialist in the field of public health, a recent leadership lesson I've learned is the importance of adaptability and resilience in the face of change. In the rapidly evolving landscape of public health and technology, I was reminded that being flexible and open to new methods and ideas is crucial. This lesson became particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, where we had to quickly adapt our health information systems and strategies to meet unprecedented challenges. It underscored the need to continuously evolve, both technologically and in leadership approach, to effectively respond to emergency situations and changing public health dynamics.

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?

As a DHIS2 Developer and Health Information System Specialist, one book that has profoundly impacted my leadership is "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't" by Jim Collins. This book's emphasis on the concept of Level 5 Leadership, which combines professional will with personal humility, resonated with me deeply.

Collins' insights into how great leaders are not only visionary but also pragmatic and how they foster a culture of discipline while encouraging innovation were particularly enlightening. Applying these principles, I focused more on building a strong team, fostering a culture of accountability, and driving results through a blend of humility and professional rigor. This approach helped me lead more effectively, especially in complex projects involving DHIS2 development and health data management, where balancing technical excellence with strategic vision is crucial.

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

As a DHIS2 Developer and Health Information System Specialist, my advice to a young leader would be: "Embrace continuous learning." In the rapidly evolving fields of public health and technology, staying updated with the latest developments, tools, and methodologies is crucial. This commitment to learning will not only enhance your technical expertise but also equip you with the adaptability and innovative mindset needed to lead effectively in dynamic environments. Remember, leadership is as much about personal growth as it is about guiding others.

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

A meaningful story from my time as a leader in the field of public health and as a DHIS2 Developer involves a project where we utilized DHIS2 to track and improve HIV treatment outcomes in a rural community in Zimbabwe. Initially, the project faced significant challenges due to limited resources and skepticism from the local community.

Through persistent effort and by leveraging the capabilities of DHIS2, we were able to create a more efficient and transparent system for monitoring patient data and treatment outcomes. This led to improved healthcare delivery and a noticeable increase in community trust and engagement.

The turning point was when a local health worker, who had been initially resistant to the new system, shared how it had not only simplified her work but also helped save a patient’s life by quickly identifying a critical lapse in treatment. This moment underscored the impact of our work and reaffirmed the importance of perseverance, community engagement, and the power of technology in transforming public health initiatives. It was a vivid reminder that at the heart of technical leadership is the ultimate goal of improving lives.

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