SPROWT ARTICLE | Alexandra Viola
Woman in Leadership
That farewell ceremony, at 8:30 in the morning, marked the beginning of a new stage in that woman’s life. She wore her white coat, and many colleagues wore the same uniform. Messages of affection, shared memories, and wishes for prosperity filled the room. She bid farewell to her colleagues after over 40 years of service. Throughout this journey, the entire institution depended on her services, without her being the ‘Boss.’ She had supported many and displeased some (you can’t please everyone).
For a moment, my mind wandered: she started her career at the age of 17 in a province in Mozambique and, in that journey, passed through various other provinces, growing in knowledge, experience, and rank without being worthy of significant social recognition and echo. She was a mother and wife, her husband a reference in society, and all her children were educated and useful, each in their respective fields.
I understood that women stand out in leadership early on, even without higher academic training or significant ‘connections.’ All that matters is that she knows her identity and mission in the different roles she plays. Whether a child, a young woman, mature, or elderly, with a husband or not, she makes a difference. It only matters that she knows herself and knows her mission. It matters that her mission, with or without echo, is carried out with humility and determination, so that she overcomes obstacles and faces adversity with a smile, focusing on her goal.
There are women who dominate, commanding more than men, even within their homes, and imposing their positions vehemently. Others are ‘Low Profile,’ but women naturally influence, persuade, and change the history of where they belong.
A woman doesn’t always need to appear or make noise; often, she appears only through her fruits, in dignified work, in a clean career, in those she has helped, and in a family that smiles at her. Grandchildren and grown-up and integral children, beloved siblings, cherished friends in her journey, and the teachings are passed on to future generations.
There are many hidden winners who carry the ‘swidjumba’ on their heads, the ‘mukhero’ day by day, crossing borders back and forth. They may not understand leadership or have higher education, but they know themselves, know their mission, and prioritize reaching their goal. Many who shine elegantly in high executive positions, political and socially renowned positions, are generated by these leaders who did not study leadership but exercise it with class and integrity. They know who they are, where they come from, know where they are going, why they are going, and whenever necessary, make tactical retreats, quietly reach the goal, and achieve their results.
At the end of the ceremony marking her presentation, she left a message to her colleagues: ‘We don’t always have to be the head; sometimes it’s enough to be the neck that makes the head turn.’ And I thought: but the woman must know herself, whether she is the head or the neck first, and know her mission to focus on the target and prioritize each moment.
The woman is a born leader.