Thatcher Mweu: Project Manager, Sendy
Managing communication flows, the benefits of serving as an Executive Assistant early in your career, and work-life balance at startups
About our Guest
This episode’s conversation is with Thatcher Mweu, a Nairobi-based organizational growth strategist who thrives in collaborative, creative, and driven teams. Driven by the passion to improve team performance and growth, she takes pride in curating and executing the best structures and processes possible. As such, she has worked with notable leaders and companies across sub-Saharan Africa, to enable them to achieve their goals. This includes stints at the African Leadership University, Andela, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Open Capital Advisors, and now Sendy.
Everyday Leadership in Action
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Thatcher:
When you get push back from team members, seek to understand its cause so that you can address it effectively: When Thatcher took on the role of Executive Assistant for the CEO, a role that had not yet existed there, she initially faced challenges in following up with team members who had previously only directly communicated with the CEO as their manager. But after she took time to sit down with each of the team members to agree on how her role interfaces with theirs, she saw how her role had impacted the traditional flow of information and knew how to better align around new expectations and processes. This is now a strategy Thatcher practices wherever she goes - even if it seems like a lot of initial meetings upfront.
Uncover and leverage your role’s hidden advantages: Thatcher was able to leverage her two initial Executive Assistant roles by seeing the bird’s eye view of an organization and intentionally dipping her toes into a variety of projects to learn what she liked and disliked.
As a project manager, you need to manage both tasks and emotions: Thatcher shared that her biggest learning over the years in coordinating projects is how to achieve progress while collaborating with different personality types and working styles on the same project team. Typically communicating, or even over-communicating can help avoid confusion or misunderstanding.
Make it easy for prospective employees to screen themselves out through an authentic interview process: There are dramatically different workloads and balance expectations across types of companies, and interview processes should allow prospective employees to see in order to effectively screen themselves out if it’s not a good fit. It’s usually much easier for the individual to screen themselves out instead of HR or the hiring manager identifying a mismatch.
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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