Chilekwa Banda: Managing Director, Post Dot Net Zambia
The challenges of managing staff who are friends, the importance of making teams know that they have been heard, and why leaders need to understand enough about each part of their business
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Chilekwa Banda from Zambia. Chilekwa has 15 years of experience in the digital finance services sector. She is currently the Managing Director at Post Dot Net Zambia and is also a fitness enthusiast and a mother of three.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Chilekwa:
Clearly document deliverables and deadlines: Chilekwa once found herself managing staff who were friends and she faced the almost inevitable case one of her friends missed a work deadline. When her friend claimed that she didn’t understand the deliverable, she decided at first not to give strong feedback to her friend. But later when this missed deadline raised alarms at a more senior leadership level, Chilekwa herself was made accountable, which caused her to hold a grudge against her friend for some time. As a result, Chilekwa has made an effort to more clearly document details in order to hold all of her team members accountable.
People just want to be understood: Chilekwa has worked in various roles at both Zambian and international firms. She has experienced how different staff have communicated both upwards and downwards on sensitive and challenging topics related to team culture and performance. Her take away is that no matter the environment, staff just want to be heard, and so it’s crucial to set up communication channels and make it clear that messages have been delivered and acknowledged.
Understand enough about each area of your business to keep teams accountable: Chilekwa comes from a tech background and focuses her continual learning on areas of her current business that she knows less about. Her experience has taught her that if a leader knows nothing about a specific department, this will result in the eventual collapse of trust and performance. Therefore it’s important to study enough to at least be able to ask relevant questions and understand what level of performance to expect.
The Everyday Leader is a podcast featuring conversations with leaders from across Africa’s companies, organizations, and governments about their experience managing teams and projects throughout their careers.
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