“Starting a race can be a daunting task, fraught with many unknowns. However, if you prepare well, chances are you will make it”
It was an ecstatic moment for me when I was invited to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Atlas Corps Virtual Leadership Institute on October 3, 2020. I saw it as a great opportunity to network globally and improve my leadership skills.
No sooner had I started my courses than I received an offer from one of the host organizations. I was delighted with the double blessing. However, the excitement faded as soon as I understood the responsibilities that came with being a scholar and a fellow at the same time. I could not help but think: How will I manage my time well to ensure that I deliver all assignments and work on time? How much support will I need and from whom? How will I complete my project before handover? I am a firm believer in the power of resilience, which is leaving no stone unturned and always finishing what you start. This forced me to adapt quickly and plan in advance how I was going to complete my courses while completing my tasks as per the requirements of the host organization.
Once I figured out all the answers to my questions, it was a seamless process. I am also happy that I was able to not only complete my tenure with the Virtual Leadership Institute but also graduate with a DISTINCTION. Below are some quick tips that helped me with my transition:
Start as early as possible!
Start planning your tasks and activities as early as possible, do not wait for the last-minute rush. This includes deciding on a project and planning the activities as as soon as you start your courses.
Planning will save you a lot of time and ensure you get the most out of each activity. In my case, I started by listing all the tasks required for each module, what I have already completed and what tasks are still to come. The list should not only be limited to the modules, but also to the project, host organization tasks, and Atlas Corps, such as visa applications, meetings, and so on. It will help you to plan your time better.
Once you have your list ready, you can block out your calendar and set aside an hour to an hour and a half at least three times a week. If you have too many tasks with your host organization, you can make time for assignments on the weekend. This was helpful for me because it meant I did not have a backlog of activities while time passed.
If you are doing your project at your workplace. It would be good if you discuss the timelines with your supervisor beforehand. That way, he will know how to support you better. If you block out time on your calendar, be sure to let the host organization know that you will need an hour or an hour and half each day to complete your assignments. Also, let the Atlas Corps Training Team know if you need an extension for certain assignments.
Enjoy the process
Above all, enjoy the process, the webinars, the activities, and the coaching groups. It is an opportunity for you to interact with other fellows from different countries around the world and with captains who will help you gain a new perspective on your leadership journey.
It was indeed a fulfilling journey, the courses were pragmatic and I was able to apply them in my daily work. I gained so much knowledge and experience that has benefited me in my journey as a leader. I would recommend it to anyone looking to move into a leadership position. Overall, it was a great experience.
Thumbnail Photo by Atlas Corps and Redempta Mutinda