The leadership dilemma? Frustrations of doing business in Uganda, part 2

The biggest challenge to business in Uganda is the tendency of senior managers to want to do the day-to-day work. We call it the

The biggest challenge to business in Uganda is
the tendency of senior managers to want to do the
day-to-day work. We call it the leadership dilemma.

This is not about paying attention to the details that matter. It is micromanaging and it sacks. In the process, this obscures the big picture — of furthering top leadership mandate to think long-term by focusing on technology investments and the customer. Great leaders micro-monitor instead of micro-managing. You do not ask someone to do something and then show them how to do it and be breathing instructions on their throat all the time they are doing work. No.

As managing director of a hospital, your work is not to perform operations in the theatre and or to offer prescription or receive and register patients. There must be processes and proper role allocation based on experience, skill, and training. As MD, your role is to ensure that things are done the right way, patients are treated and that everything is in order. And you have adequate plans to expand the hospital facilities (theaters, skills, tools, medicines, staffing among others)  to meet the growing needs of the anticipated increase in patient numbers depending on the common diseases people are always diagnosed.

In Uganda and it appears to be an African disease, when most people get into positions of authority, they try to use their positions to let down others instead of creating an environment where everyone can thrive. And thus, creativity and innovation are constrained because everyone looks to the boss with fear for their job. If the other person is seen as intelligent, the boss becomes insecure. That would be a reason to terminate their services. A leader is supposed to help people do things but not do things for them.

Looking at the boss for guidance all the time is causing a lot of problems; innovative Ugandans are frustrated when they propose projects that would benefit the organizations and country as a whole. They are never given the audience. It is a painful experience. The so-called personal assistants (PAs) are so powerful that they can find all the reasons as to why you should not see the executive director or permanent secretary.

Why should public offices not be open to the public for business?

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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