Jhpiego is a global health organization with a presence in more than 155 countries. On April 11th, I delivered a workshop on Virtual Team Building to some of Jhpiego’s best and brightest leaders. Each participant was selected to participate in Jhpiego’s two-year Leadership Development Program in recognition of their significant contributions. All were rising stars, managing hundreds of staff members and budgets of tens of millions of dollars. Like many, their formal training in medicine, dentistry, nursing and accounting did not include the skills needed to build highly-effective teams.
The responses to our training was overwhelming. “I’ve never learned this before. I’m a doctor. Now, I run this organization. But, I’ve never had this,” said Dr. Kiyali Ouattara, Country Director, Ivory Coast for Jhpeigo. “Me, neither,” offered Marion Subah, Chief of Party, in Jhpiego’s Liberia Country Office. “This changes everything,” concluded Kiyali.
I felt a swell of emotion, knowing I had connected public health leaders from Ivory Coast, Liberia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Afghanistan to cutting-edge leadership and team-building skills often reserved for leaders in tech and finance.
These leaders are experts in gathering support for their work and sustaining morale among their staff. Yet, they lacked the tools to understand all of the components of successful team building or handling challenging aspects of teamwork, like managing conflict. In one day, we covered the building blocks of designing and leading virtual teams, providing the tools needed to do their jobs even better.
It was a truly exceptional day. I left inspired and humbled, knowing that the tools of leadership are absolutely in demand by those at the frontlines of global change.
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