Becoming a Role Model and a Better Leader

Participating in the Leadership Development Program Plus (LDP+) helped Dr. Dereje Duguma improve program planning when he was Director of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation at the Oromia Regional Health Bureau in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 2014 to early 2016.  Promoted since then to Deputy Bureau Head and Manager of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, he continues to draw on what he learned through the LDP+ to build team relationships, establish a shared organizational vision, and empower people.

Facilitated by USAID’s Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project, Dr. Duguma and colleagues from across the Oromia Regional Health Bureau identified poor data quality as a main obstacle to planning when they participated in an adapted version of the LDP+. Using the Fishbone and the Five Whys methods , they would specifically conclude that the team’s ability to gather accurate, reliable, timely, and complete data was hampered by a lack of attention, awareness, and commitment from managers.

Once they had identified these causes, Duguma and his team were able to create specific action plans in response. The team organized trainings and shared information on the ways that lackluster data quality at the health facility levels meant inaccurate and inefficient planning at the regional health bureau level. Duguma also advocated for more data training and encouraged continuous coaching for health professionals.

Since implementing their action plans, the team has seen improvements in morale and data quality. Duguma credits improvements in teamwork, trust, and individual empowerment to the training provided by the LMG Project. “I approach problems in a different way,” he noted, specifying that he now communicates directly with colleagues and encourages them to take initiative when facing problems. In return, Duguma recognized that staff members were taking enthusiastic ownership of their responsibilities.

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Reflecting back on his training, Dereje Duguma says that he has a vision to be a better leader, and central to achieving this is to first become a role model. “Leadership is a process which builds up every day,” he recommends.

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