WANT TO BE A BETTER MANAGER? KEEP THESE 3 THINGS IN MIND

Being a boss babe leader and managing others is not easy.  I remember when I was first starting off as a manager, and I had to make my first hires.

I overthought everything.  

I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but at the same time, I wanted to get the most out of the people I hired. 

Here are three basic statements I kept in mind when reflecting on my ability to engage and mobilize anyone working with me.  

They are useful to think about whether you manage one intern or twenty individuals.


1. Understand the goals and aspirations of each member of your team.

I used to think that I had to approach each member of my team the same.  I would provide them the same information and respond to them in similar ways, expecting the same output from each. It did not get me very far.  

Each person needs to be treated as an individual. Understanding how each member of your team ticks will help you get the most out of them.

If you know how to acknowledge and recognize each member, you will know how best to motivate and communicate with them.  

With just a bit of work and understanding, you can get a lot more out of a team member, because you will be speaking their language. No two people are motivated the same way, so you cannot always expect the same result from different individuals.

If you are an employee…

  • Tell your manager what motivates you.
  • Tell them what you want to get out of your experience working with them and how you prefer to be approached.
  • If you are confused about your role or objectives, ask or show them what you think they should be.

They might not always listen, but you can at least demonstrate how self-aware you are. Some managers will appreciate it.

Those who don’t probably shouldn’t be managers.

2. Each member of your team knows what you expect, and where they are in terms of performance

I was notorious and continued to have issues with communicating what I want from others.  Even when we think we have done an excellent job, we usually have not.

Making sure each member of your team understands their place (even if it changes monthly) is key to making sure you are getting the most out of them.  

They should be getting feedback from you regularly, and you should periodically inquire about making sure they are on the right track.

If they are not, its either you haven’t done an excellent job being explicit or the role does not suit them.

If you are an employee and your company has a formal performance review process, nothing your manager says during the performance review process should come as a surprise.

  • Ask for regular feedback and make sure you get clarity if you are confused.
  • Send your manager an email with what you discussed, even if its feedback, to make sure you both are on the same page.



3. You actively act on advice and feedback on how you come across to your team, and how you can be a more motivating leader

No one is perfect but spending a few hours a week on seeking and receiving feedback can make you a more effective leader.  

You can ask for input in various ways: informally at group meetings or formally through surveys. Take some time to read about different approaches to leadership and reflect on who you admire as a manager.

Write down the traits and feedback you want to embody and try them out. Want to check how you are doing? Continue to ask for feedback over time.

If you are an employee…

  • Ask your manager if you can give them constructive feedback.  
  • Think about what you can learn from your manager and make the best of the situation.
  • If there is something that doesn’t sit well with you, keep it in mind for when you have a chance to manage others.

How can you use these statements to make a change or move forward?

With each element, try to rate yourself.  I would suggest on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 meaning disagree strongly and 10, strongly agree.

Ask your teammates for feedback to help you decide where you stand.

For the statements you rate less than 5, you might want to spend some time thinking through how to bridge the gap.  You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Where do you want to be?
  • What is the first thing you can do to make progress in that particular element?

That one small step you take can help you get closer to the leader you want to be and get even more out of your team.


This month of July, we’re telling stories about boss ladies breaking boundaries, and how you also can hit your #BossLadyGoals. Got a boss lady story to share with us? Click here.

The United Nations is using it’s Women’s Global HeforShe initiative to drive gender equality

Gender equality is a fundamental human right but remains a distant dream for many women worldwide.  The United Nations’ HeforShe is a solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality.  Its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging both genders to partake as agents of change and take action against negative stereotypes and behaviors, faced by people with feminine personalities/genders. Grounded in the idea that gender inequality is an issue that affects all people—socially, economically and politically. It seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as “a struggle for women by women”. The HeForShe movement is gathering momentum globally as a cohort of select leaders from both the public and private sectors join the drive and stand out as visionaries on gender equality. On behalf of Standard Bank Group, Chief Executive Sim Tshabalala, has become one of the global “Thematic Champions” in the HeForShe movement. These leaders have committed to implementing game-changing policies and concrete actions towards gender parity. “Achieving gender equity is a moral duty, a business imperative, and just plain common sense. Women embody half the world’s talent, skill and energy – and more than half of its purchasing power. So every sensible business leader must be committed to achieving gender equity in their company and to contributing to gender equity in the societies in which we operate,” says Tshabalala.
Sim Tshabalala
@StandardBankZA will improve the representation of women in executive positions from the current 35% to 40% by 2021. #HeforShe Click To Tweet In the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap report, it is estimated that it will take more than 217 years to achieve workplace equality after gender parity took a step backward in the past year. Concrete commitments made by Standard Bank Group in order to bring about tangible change include:
  • Reaching parity in executive positions and to improve the representation of women in executive positions from its current 32% to 40% by 2023.
  • Lift the representation of women on the Board from 22% to 33% by 2021.
Standard Bank is also committed to increasing the representation of women Chief Executives in its Africa Regions network from 10% to 20% by 2021, while Standard Bank South Africa will improve the representation of women in executive positions from the current 35% to 40% by 2021. While progress has been made in certain countries in Africa to close gender gaps, others remain behind the curve. Namibia and South Africa both score in the Top 20 in the WEF global report on gender equality – after closing 78% to 76% of their gender gaps – but Sub-Saharan Africa still displays a wider range of gender gap outcomes than practically any other region. Launched by Emma Watson and the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2014, HeForShe represented the first global effort to actively include men and boys as change agents for gender equality at a time when most gender programs were only targeting women. The U.N. recently reported that nearly 20 percent of women surveyed said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the previous year. #HeforShe Click To Tweet It was the beginning of a trend that only seems more relevant as stories emerge of sexual abuse and harassment suffered by women in the workplace. The Sustainable Development Goals call for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, but campaigns such as the most recent International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women highlight that there is much work to be done. The U.N. recently reported that nearly 20 percent of women surveyed said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the previous year. Originally conceived as a one-year media campaign to raise awareness about the role of men and boys in gender equality, the HeForShe website garnered more than 100,000 male supporters in its first three days. These males affirmed their commitment to the cause by declaring themselves “HeForShe” and saying that gender equality is not just a women’s issue. Early adopters included a clutch of celebrities and politicians, including former U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and actor Matt Damon. Since then, 1.6 million men have signed up online, including at least one man in every country of the world, and its “Impact Champions” include the presidents of Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, and Indonesia, among several other heads of state.  The issue has also been the subject of 2 billion conversations on social media. But HeForShe is not without its critics. Many in the gender equality community say they would like to see the movement make more concrete demands of its male champions, and have called for civil society to play a greater role in developing and monitoring the movement. “Now is a good moment for reflection and discussion about HeForShe, which has achieved high visibility, clear successes, and also drawbacks,” said Gary Barker, co-founder of Promundo, an NGO working to engage men and boys for gender equality, which has advised the HeForShe campaign since its launch three years ago. “Having that amount of reach and star power on board means there’s huge potential, but we need to harness it before the movement loses momentum … [and] we need to push UN Women to go further and ask more of men,” he added. Johannesburg : 9th October 2018.
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Meet the young African women creating impact through international consultancy

International consultants working on finding sustainable solutions for social-economic problems on the continent, are more and more often roles fulfilled by our own young and brightest.

Meet three young inspiring ladies from Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe who made their way into Dalberg – a firm that is rapidly expanding across the continent – to contribute to social impact and sustainable development through consulting work.

Edel Were is a Consultant and Co-Lead of the Youth Employment and Education Practice at Dalberg Advisors. The 27-year-old is based in the Nairobi office and has been in Dalberg for 3 years.

Within her time at Dalberg, she has built a range of experience in the youth employment and education space in Africa. Her work has supported the Conrad N. Hiltonn Foundation, MasterCard Foundation, Government of Rwanda, NGO’s and more.

Christelle Nayandi is 23 years old and she recently joined Dalberg Advisors as an analyst. Prior to this, she worked on different social impact-focused projects in Africa.

She was a research assistant in the Appropriate Point of Care Diagnostics project in Kumasi, Ghana, where her and her teammates conducted research on Pediatric Tuberculosis in hospitals and generated ideas on appropriate point of care diagnostic devices using available resources.

Fadzai Chitiyo joined Dalberg as an Analyst in the Johannesburg office in 2017 and has made immense strides in her career, having been promoted twice in less than two years!

She is now Strategy Consultant at Dalberg, with broad development sector expertise across agriculture, financial inclusion, healthcare, mobile for development, impact investing and inclusive business growth. She has conducted several businesses cases and go-to-market strategies for banks in DRC, Uganda and Zambia.  

In this interview, Edel , Christelle, and Fadzai share their tips of how to get your foot into the door with an international consultancy firm while in your twenties.


Tell us about the competitive route towards being hired by a global consultancy…

Chrisetelle: It involved a lot of hours spent on studying for case interviews, practicing and honing my structured problem-solving skills.

Fadzai: Next to the case studies, consultancies are hiring more and more for company culture and global fit, with some building relationships with specific clubs or faculties on university campuses.

It is a good idea to join some of these clubs, so you can gain exposure to current employees at the consultancy you are interested in, whilst also positioning yourself well to be a potential candidate

Edel:I had expressed within my network my interest to engage in actionable problem solving, especially in the development sector, therefore people gave me guidance and how to prepare.

I hadn’t really been exposed to consulting before, so resources such as this and this, but also videos like this one, really helped me.

Edel Were
Before you become a consultant, practice the skills, apply for internships and if that’s not possible read up on case studies and how to solve them - Edel Were Click To Tweet

How did you land your job at an international company like Dalberg?

Chrisetelle: I got to learn about Dalberg’s amazing work through an information session at my university. I also got the chance to attend a talk hosted by a partner in one of the African offices.

I made the effort to reach out people who work in consulting to seek preparation tips, connect to people currently working in Dalberg and being very proactive about it.

Fadzai: A former Desmond Tutu Leadership fellow who saw my potential for a consulting career and introduced me to the firm.

The introduction was a first step, but I really had to prove myself in the interviews to land the job through three case study interviews with senior staff and partners from the Africa offices.

Edel: I met someone who worked at Dalberg and got interested in the company as it matched my desire to work in the social impact space.

Even though they didn’t have any vacancies at the time, I tried to build my experience by doing several internships and jobs in the development space and applied once a position opened.

Want to work with an international consultancy firm while in your twenties? Edel, Christelle and Fadzai share some tips... Click To Tweet

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of life as a consultant?

Christelle: Working as a consultant is great because you get to work on many projects in different sectors and areas. But traveling often can be challenging because you don’t usually get a lot of time to spend with family and friends back home.

Fadzai: The exposure to some of the top executives and development leaders on the continent or globe position you well to take your career anywhere you like.

However, life as a consultant is also a life on the road. It is important you ensure you can achieve some work life balance and maintain the relationships that matter in your life.

Edel: Working with people who are constantly refining their problem-solving skills has helped me build my skills and knowledge quite quickly.

I work in a variety sectors (health, education, agriculture, energy etc.). At the same time, it can be difficult to specialize in one sector or practice area as you’re expected to a be a generalist.

Fadzai Chitiyo
Life as a consultant is also a life on the road. Ensure that you achieve some work life balance - Fadzai Chitiyo Click To Tweet

Have you worked on any projects which contributed to the overall development of Africa?

Christelle: As I recently joined, I am working on my first project! The bulk of my work involves doing a market assessment for an international education institution here in Rwanda.

I do this in order to identify needs and gaps in the market and see how it can better position itself to address them.

Fadzai: My most exciting project was to design and develop a commercial business case and go-to-market strategy for a leading bank in Zambia.

They wanted to reach 30,000 small holder farmers with business financial services for them to graduate to emerging farmers. The bank is looking to implement soon which is exciting!

Edel: One of the projects I really liked working on was supporting the Mastercard Foundation and the Government of Rwanda. The project focused on rethinking 21st century skills training for your young people in the country by technical vocational training programs.

After involving young people, businesses and institutions in some of the most marginalized districts in the country, we recommended a couple of focus areas as well as an implementation plan. The project is being implemented as we speak!

What advice would you give to other young African women hoping to join an international consultancy?

Christelle: It is important to start practicing and become more aware of structured problem-solving. There is a wealth of material on the internet on how to improve this skill.

Also, networking is very important. Take every opportunity possible to meet up and talk to people in this industry.

Fadzai: I would suggest doing internships during your university holidays (either in a global consulting firm or any other professional services company) By doing this, you can prepare for the high pressure and fast work environment that consultants work under.

This skill will help you to start building some basic research and problem-solving skills.

Edel: With a focus on development consulting, I would say start familiarizing yourself with the sector, read up on important conversations and decisions being made in the space.

Practice the skills, try and apply for internships and if that’s not possible read up on case studies and how to solve them.

Christelle Nayandi
Before I got this job, I made the effort to reach out to people who work in consulting to seek preparation tips - Christelle Nayandi Click To Tweet

How do you make a name for yourself as a young woman in a consultancy office?

Christelle: Be proactive in your everyday activities. The reason why you are there is to help the company fulfil its mission while you also aim for professional development in the process. So own it and be open-minded.

Make an effort to go out there and meet people who have been in the firm longer than you because they often have great advice on what you should keep in mind in your everyday activities.

Fadzai: You don’t go in trying to make a name for yourself! Instead, be willing to ask for help, fail fast and learn quickly. Identify mentors and advisors that can help you in your journey.

Most people tend to overlook the Project Managers and look for a Partner. But you will typically interact more with managers and they will have a clearer line of sight on your professional development.

Edel: I think you should follow the things you are passionate about. Volunteer in internal initiatives and topics that you find interesting. The people around you are a resource, try to engage with people on these topics across the firm, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Also, I’d say participate in industry events, try and get your thoughts and opinions published, and make people aware of your interests.

This article was written by Marthe van der Wolf


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Wennovation Hub: Empowering African Entrepreneurs by solving socio-economic challenges

 

Wennovation Hub is the pioneer innovation accelerator in Nigeria since 2011, with offices in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and recently Kaduna.

It was co-founded by the dynamic quartet of Wole Odetayo, Michael Oluwagbemi, Idris Ayo Bello and Dami Agboola; four young Nigerians who believe in the power of technology innovation and youth entrepreneurship for the economic emancipation of Africa.

The vision of the hub is to achieve sustainable development in Africa by fostering innovation among the youth population. They also focus on social impact sectors including Agriculture, Healthcare, Education, Clean Energy and Social Infrastructure.

Wennovation Hub emphasizes the need to inspire and empower entrepreneurs to solve socio-economic challenges in their communities by leveraging technology resources and networking.

Up till date, they have supported over 300 startup teams and well over 6000 youths physically with as much as $2.5 m. The money was raised by startups within their network and over $66M raised as follow-on funding by startups within the founders’ network.

As Nigeria’s first privately run incubator/accelerator, Wennovation Hub has incubated more than 60 teams. They have seeded over a dozen companies and directly impacted more than 300 high impact entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs .

They collaborate with these entrepreneurs to build commercially viable businesses that have high impact solutions to some of the most resilient challenges in different communities across Africa.

“Our efforts have been recognized by World Bank – Infodev by sponsoring Lagos Angel Network which we convened in 2013, McKinsey who mentioned Wennovation Hub severally in their “Lions Go Digital” 2013 report, Ashoka Global Institute and SAP by giving Wennovation Hub a “Changemaker – Power of Small” Award in 2012 amongst many others”.

@wennovation Hub emphasizes on social impact, job creation and the importance of youth capacity development in all programmes Click To Tweet

“Today, our active portfolio companies account for tens of direct jobs and over $150k in sales annually. Wennovation Hub, as a leading accelerator, in achieving impact has forged strategic partnerships across the global entrepreneurship ecosystem with the likes of CTA Netherlands, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Spring University Canada, Village Capital Atlanta, Kick Incubator USA, Covenant University, Tony Elumelu Foundation, USAID, Obafemi Awolowo University, Total Nigeria Plc, PIND, FMARD, IITA, MIT, AfriLabs, MIIS, University of Ibadan – Centre for Entrepreneurship Institute, University of Lagos, and a host of others in our partnership portfolio”.

The hub also supports startups operating in any sector with particular emphasis on those that leverage technology due to the huge potential for scale and growth. Their dedication to innovation and tech-enabled entrepreneurship is in line with our strategic goal of being positioned as Africa’s Topmost Technology Startup Accelerator promoting innovative ideas, building high-impact entrepreneurs and nurturing top businesses in the process.

The Co-Working Spaces in Mokola Ibadan, Ikeja Lagos, and Jabi Abuja are open to all entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, start-up/business owners, innovators, inventors, freelancers, creative entrepreneurs and techies/tech-preneurs.

 

Registration at Wennovation Hub provides the following opportunities:

  • A beautiful and serene workspace environment
  • Access to internet facilities and uninterrupted power supply
  • Access to our various training programs that improve technical skills for tech-preneurs, Business skills development programs for entrepreneurs and growth acceleration programs.
  • Opportunities to access numerous funding opportunities and connect with potential business investors/consultants.
  • Free invitations to our various social and networking events
  • Opportunity to interact and network with a community of like-minded entrepreneurs for personal and professional growth.
Through collaboration, we can leverage technology innovation to solve major socio-economic challenges - @wennovation Click To Tweet

We are proud to be a pioneering force in the Ecosystem pushing the frontiers of Technology Innovation and supporting Entrepreneurship across the continent – inspiring, creating and promoting innovative and sustainable solutions to the socio-economic challenges of Africa.

This is Wennovation!

Our Focus Areas

  • Ibadan Hub – Ecosystem Development Programs

– Entrepreneurship Development Program Fully Serviced Co-Working Space

  • Lagos Hub – Proto Lab and MakerSpace

– Markers Ecosystem Engagement Market Acceleration and Rapid Prototyping Lab

  • Abuja Hub – Public Sector Incubation Programmes

– Public Sector Policy Advisory and Consulting Public Sector Engagement Programmes

At Wennovation, OUR MISSION To inspire and empower African Entrepreneurs to solve their immediate socio-economic challenges by leveraging technology, resources, and network collaboratively.

OUR VISION To achieve sustainable development in Africa by fostering innovation among the youth population.


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5 Work-Life Balance Tips For New Entrepreneurs

You know that popular quote that says that the first year of business for any entrepreneur particularly a solopreneur is usually the hardest? Well, nothing can be further from the truth.

What they also didn’t tell you is that in that first year, in order to get things rolling, you might lose yourself to your business. This also includes but is not limited to your family, friends, network and social life.

Depending on your perspective, this might seem like an investment in the long run. After all, the first five years are the most pivotal point of any business. After that, it’s supposed to get easier.

But does that mean you have to wait until your business has fully taken off to get your life and have a semblance of work-life balance?I think not.

Here are five simple work-life balance tips that I have found works for new entrepreneurs.

Separate your business from your personal life.

This might seem like a walk in the park but believe me, it is easier said than done. In a bid to be always available, accessible and offer excellent customer service, the thin line between your business and your personal life might be blurred.

So, it is key to separate them. This can be as simple as getting a different phone/WhatsApp number for your business. This way, you’re not tempted to respond to messages that are not urgent outside work hours.

Determine your work hours.

As much we live on the internet, it can be tough for internet-enabled businesses to switch off for the day but it’s important for work-life balance.

Entrepreneurs are known to work around the clock but by determining your work hours you are giving your business structure and leaving out time for yourself and your life.

Make plans ahead

It’s one thing for you as an entrepreneur to not have a social life, it’s another thing entirely to not make plans outside your business.

The great thing about making plans ahead and following through with your family and friends is that you’re completely distracted and not tempted to work. No matter how little it might seem initially, it means that out of your super busy schedule, you are making time for your loved ones and that is one of the keys to a balanced life.

So, draw up a special calendar and slot in some dates and fun activities for the next three months. This gives your friends enough time ahead to prevent a clash of schedules.

(SLA TIP: Google Calendar is your plug)

Observe public holidays

As an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to become a workaholic. But as much as strong work ethics are admirable, it’s important to know when to take a break to re-energize and avoid burning out.

One of the most simple ways you can achieve this especially when you don’t have the luxury of taking vacations yet is by observing public holidays.

Turn off your work phone and emails. If possible, stay off social media and cultivate a habit of resting.

Learn how to rest

Everyone has their definition of rest but one thing is certain, it does not involve work. One of the key things I learned over the Christmas holidays is the ability to sit down and do absolutely nothing.

As difficult as it was initially particularly for someone that has worked all year, by the time I got into the state of inactivity and idleness, it was refreshing to truly rest.

Try it and see!

As a compliment, you can also find passive non-work related activities (such as listening to audiobooks) to pass the time.


Got some advice for new business owners and entrepreneurs? Share your advice with us here.