This post is the last series featuring some of the first marine conservation leaders taking part in the African Marine Conservation Leadership Programme that Blue Ventures and Maliasili started in 2020. They share their leadership journeys as part of the programme, which aims to strengthen marine conservation in the Western Indian Ocean region by training leaders of outstanding conservation organisations. In this series, Yusuf Ibrahim shares his leadership journey.
Yusuf Hussein Ibrahim, Country Director at Global Initiative for Resilience and Development (GIRD) in Garowe, Somalia
I believe that someone is born to lead, and in my case, I always found myself leading others. I recall from my childhood and through school that I would lead my peers, and when I started working, I rose up the ranks quite quickly. I realised, however, that no one tells you what good leadership looks like, nor what you are supposed to do as a leader, so I had some challenges in the past with decision making.
However, when I joined the Africa Marine Conservation Leadership Programme (AMCLP), I learned how to bring out my strengths and gain critical leadership skills such as strategic leadership, effective collaboration and better fundraising. The programme has allowed me to better use my strengths, and now I apply these skills within my organisation.
The programme has allowed us to interact with other leaders, challenge each other out of our comfort zones, and take more risks, which is a crucial step in learning. Founding Global Initiative for Resilience and Development (GIRD) is a testament to how I have taken risks because I left employment while having a family to open it. Now the organisation employs many other people.
What excites me most as a leader is when I see people enjoying their work, being happy, having similar objectives and working as a team. Some managers say their office is open when it isn’t, or they are unavailable. I like seeing my team happy and comfortable. In the course of my career, I learned that challenges in the workplace require both managerial and leadership skills. Such a combination of skills allows leaders to navigate stressful situations and guide their teams well. I believe a leader is more than a manager working on getting outputs and impact. A leader is more like a parent who nurtures their team and is patient and faithful to their staff.
When we achieve our goals as an organisation because of the excellent work that our team does and our sound leadership, I am more confident about continuing to impact the lives of my team and the communities working with us.