Empowerment and My Leadership Journey22/03/2023 -
Dr Kennedy Muturi Nelson is Associate Director – Digital and Quality Improvement in Practitioner and Counter Fraud Services for NHS National Services Scotland.
Leadership is a journey, not a destination – From Wicked Problems to Clumsy Solutions, I have purposed to keep learning and growing.
In a career spanning over 30 years, I have worked in different fields including community development, research, teaching, project management, public health, service improvement and business transformation. The common thread that binds all these fields has been the opportunity to work with incredible leaders. Leaders who have offered me the opportunity to learn, develop and master the art of interdependence, to be the leader I am today.
Growing up in Embu, Kenya, high in the foothills of Mount Kenya, the mountain was where my world began and stretching before me was this distant and mysterious place which filled me with curiosity. My early role models (leaders) were my family, ordinary folk, teachers, and farmers who by deed and example laid the foundations of my own leadership journey. Of note was my late uncle who went to college. His stories from the city about this melting pot of cultures and ideas filled me with endless curiosity to see, learn and do.
And so, I did. I left the village and went to study and work across Kenya with amazing people before coming to Scotland, for one year, twenty-five years ago. From those awesome slopes of Mount Kenya up till now, I have been on a leadership journey. From Aberdeen where while studying Nutrition and Immunology for my PhD at the University of Aberdeen and at Robert Gordon University, School of Pharmacy, studying cardiovascular remodelling in the failing heart for my post–doctoral research fellowship, I had the opportunity to work and learn from scholars and free thinkers on the cusp of disruptive leadership. I went on to study Leadership and Management at Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University (DMU), as well as taking further professional courses in Leading and Leadership, Portfolio, Programme and Project Management as well as Leading Digital Transformation
Joining the NHS, I found colleagues at every level willing to offer their experience and knowledge as mentors. From Chief Executives to clinical leaders and members of my teams, they have all empowered me through their authenticity, courage, and vulnerability.
Studying and working with people from many countries and cultures has allowed me to abstract meaningfulness, competence, self-determination, and impact. I have also learnt how to utilise my acquired knowledge and experience in my passion to empower others to utilise their latitude through agency, power, and purpose so that they too can ultimately discover and exercise their leadership.
Through a personal commitment to honesty and integrity, my mission has been to remember where I have come from and where I seek to go, deeply valuing and sustaining the positive relationships I’ve built with my family, friends, and colleagues. This is because I know, I am who I am today because of the inspiration they have been to me. I stand on the shoulders of those friends, leaders and fellow leadership journey travellers who have taught me how to be. For me, the boy from the slopes of Mount Kenya it has been a truly humbling and enriching journey.
In empowering others, I have used my heart to guide my dreams and desires, and my mind to pursue knowledge. I continue to strive to enjoy every moment along this life’s journey finding laughter, love, and happiness in each day.
My plea is for you to seek mentors to support you, but also mentees who can learn from you, do not be afraid to ask or be asked questions because leadership is about both courage and vulnerability. For its only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable can we begin to truly understand the leadership challenge of wicked problems and often clumsy beginning to solutions.
So, what have I learnt in my leadership journey is this;
- Leadership requires constant practice and learning.
- Simply telling people what to do does not make you a good leader, it’s how you make people feel in fulfilling their work.
- Emotional and academic intelligence comes in handy in the leadership journey.
- Thoughts of being powerless, voiceless or choiceless fester un-needed baggage in your leadership journey, off-load them.
Reflective Challenge: How can you to seek mentors to support you, and also mentees who can learn from you? Who can you approach or what networks can you access?
We’d like to thank Nelson for writing this guest blog which is part of the Leading to Change Diversity Blog Series. We want to highlight and promote the voices and experiences of diverse leaders at all levels including those working at frontline / grassroots levels. We aim to celebrate diverse leaders who can act as role models for other aspiring, diverse leaders.
Dr Kennedy Muturi Nelson
Nelson is Associate Director for digital services with responsibility for several programmes including the replacement of the Nation Pharmacy payments system, Digitisation of Medical Records in Primary care and modernisation of data collection and reporting. He is also the Chair of the NSS ethnic, cultural diversity and friends’ network and co-convenor of the Global Citizenship Programme.
All information regarding our contributors was correct at the time of publishing.
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