☕ CoffeeChat Weekly
Opportunities & Insights from Across Our Community
Hi everyone, here’s what we have for you this week:
Does entrepreneurship experience make you a better manager? In this week’s episode of The Everyday Leader, Yekeen Ajeigbe shares how he can more easily relate with company leaders and understand their mindset.
How do you build self-reflection into your daily and weekly routine? We share 5 ways to increase your self-awareness to guide personal and team growth.
Not everyone has the same career mindset. Read our case study on how an investment manager uses our peer coaching network to connect with like-minded professionals across the region.
Read on for more details…
How entrepreneurship experience can make you a better manager, the best practices of open communication with clients, and why leaders need to regularly adapt their style
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Yekeen:
Prior first-hand entrepreneurship experience makes you a better manager and team member: Yekeen started his career by trying his hand at entrepreneurship with an e-commerce solution for artisans in his area. When his venture didn’t pan out, he took several jobs at a more established software and e-commerce companies. Because of his first-hand entrepreneurship experience, he was able to more easily relate with the leaders of the company and understand their mindset. As a manager, he has continued to take a broader business perspective to his teams’ work, including focusing on the value their work is delivering for customers and what that means for the long-term success of the company.
Open communication is as important for external clients as it is with internal clients: In his current role at Deimos, his team works on developing and maintaining software products for both internal teams and external clients. By necessity, he has built processes and best practices for ensuring open lines of communication, such as regular and predictable updates. This includes proactively providing options around levels of visibility by the client and other stakeholders. One example is configuring automated updates on a Slack thread whenever there in a new pull request, signaling that a new version of software is about to be deployed.
Leaders need to be comfortable adjusting their leadership style to match their context: Yekeen reflected upon his journey as a manager, and noted that he has shifted towards a coaching mentality as his team has become more experienced and aligned. We discussed that this is the ideal approach to management, but it must be complemented with other styles when the need arises, such as when a newly established team requires up-front alignment around work ethic and values expectations.
5 Ways to Increase Self-Awareness: Understanding ourselves is key to guiding personal and team growth
Self-awareness forms the backbone of our relationship with ourselves and those around us. It affects how we connect with others, as well as how we collaborate and manage our triggers. As a leader, understanding your strengths and weaknesses also comes in handy during transitions or growth phases. It makes it easier to navigate uncertainty if you know your strengths and lean into them. Below are several simple strategies to help you grow your self-awareness:
Keep a Journal: With so many moving parts to our days, it can be difficult to find some time to self-reflect daily. However, it is possible to carve out about 5-10 minutes each day to reflect on your thoughts, ideas, feelings, and actions. Recording your thoughts, whether that’s on paper or digitally, helps to relieve your mind of those ideas, and clears it up to make space for new information and ideas. It also helps you keep track of your progress and growth.
Take a Personality Test: Results from a psychometric assessments give you an opportunity to think more about how you typically respond or act in certain situations. The results also provide frameworks and vocabulary to describe yourself in relation to others. These insights can also guide you on how to best leverage your strengths.
Seek Out Feedback: Aside from self-reflection, getting feedback from those around us is also a great way to increase our self-awareness. We are often unaware of how others perceive us, how well we know ourselves and how we present ourselves when we interact with others. The Johari Window framework helps illustrate how individuals gain a better understanding of themselves and can uncover blindspots, things that you are unaware of but that others know.
Become a Peer Coach: Hearing from peers or others about challenges they are facing and helping them troubleshoot to develop solutions can also provide an opportunity to self-evaluate. For example, in an episode of our podcast The Everyday Leader, Nelly Agyemang-Gyamfi shared how self-awareness comes from needing to intentionally set goals and identify guiding values. Nelly held several leadership roles during her college years that required that she look after and guide younger students when they arrived on campus for their first year. This experience was a lightbulb moment for her as it helped build self-awareness as she had to be intentional about setting her goals and values in this role.
Work with a Professional Coach: Working with a professional coach over a series of sessions can help you develop a strong capacity for focused introspection and reflection. The experience allows you to become more aware of behaviors and patterns in your lives that may sabotage your success. A professional coach also helps you stay accountable to making the changes to which you commit.
Investment Manager uses peer coaching network to connect with professionals that share her career stage and mindset
Dinah Njuguna is from Nairobi, Kenya and serves as an Investment Manager across Africa at Kiva, who provides debt to high-growth social enterprises and Micro-Finance institutions across Africa, Asia, LATAM, and the USA. Previously, she worked with Endeavor, a company that supports high-growth companies through technical support and venture capital investments. As a result, Dinah has deep exposure and experience on how companies can scale with the power of a reliable and well-developed network, smart capital, and a sound business model.
As part of joining the CoffeeChat Peer Coaching Network, Dinah has connected with a number of different professionals from other companies across the region. She has found her peer coaching experience differs from her mentorship activities. She appreciates that her fellow peer coaches are at the same stage of their careers, which enables practical and meaningful conversations around career advancement.