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Opportunities & Insights from Across Our Community
Hi everyone, here’s what we have for you this week:
How do you deal with stress? In this week’s episode of The Everyday Leader, the Founder of HouseME shares how he navigated a series of ups and downs.
Building strong relationships with your team requires intentional effort. We share learnings from managers about authenticity, communication, and transparency.
We’re hosting an information session about our Peer Coaching Network. Make sure to RSVP via our LinkedIn event page.
Read on for more details…
Dealing with stress, using mentors to manage ups and downs, and the importance of contextualizing leadership and business advice
Here are a few highlights from the conversation with Ben:
Mentors and advisors can play a stabilizing role during ups and downs: Ben has developed a network of mentors and advisors over the years, in part through his participation as a Fellow with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation over the past 12 years. He has found that mentors can provide the right balance of support to pull you up during difficult down period, and also keep your ego in check during high moments, by bringing in a rational voice from an outside perspective.
Resilience requires compartmentalizing specific challenges and sources of stress: During his time as Founder and CEO of HouseME, his company went through various forms of bankruptcy on a number of occasions. The first time was extremely stressful, but each subsequent time the experience became more manageable as he was able to “fail forward” and learn from the previous times. He would separate out each problem into bite-sized issues that needed addressing rather than combining them all into one big scary problem that would seem insurmountable looking at it collectively.
Leaders are responsible for contextualizing the advice and frameworks they come across: At HouseME, their first piece of office furniture was a bookshelf for their leadership library. Ben has read many books, listened to many podcasts and spoken to many mentors throughout his career so far. While he and his teams often were inspired by such content, he also recognized that the content alone is not enough and won’t apply word-for-word to their own business. The content requires a leader and managers to identify the core elements of the frameworks and concepts, and match them with how they can be applied within the specific context of their market or team. Once, a mentor of his illustrated this point by sharing a helpful perspective that often advice is given to you by someone who has thought about your problem for 10 minutes, while you have likely been grappling with that problem for 10 months, so you’ll always need to do the work of taking their advice and fitting into the details of your situation.
Building Strong Relationships With Your Team
We spend the majority of our time working. So building great relationships with our work colleagues can make our life more enjoyable. Strong workplace relationships can also promote team cohesion and improve overall productivity and performance. More comfortable team members are often more vocal about their opinions, which can surface innovative new ideas. They are often also stronger advocates for your business outside of the workplace. On our podcast, The Everyday Leader, many managers have shared about their experiences, both difficult and rewarding, in their efforts to build strong relationships within their teams. Here are three tips from our guests to help you along the journey:
Share more of yourself: Authenticity as a leader counts when building relationships with your team. Rather than worrying about what you sound like, allow yourself to be vulnerable with your team. Share more information about your career journey and the hurdles you had to overcome along the way. Talk to them about the mistakes you made and how you went about recovering from them. Work on naturally building relationships with your team by working alongside them every now and then: Hillary Sang shared about a habit he developed in making sure he spends time sitting alongside his lowest-level staff and doing their same tasks to build empathy and strong connections.
Over-communicate: To achieve results through others, leaders must develop effective communication skills. You must learn to manage communication flows within the organization, and among customers, partners, employees, and other stakeholders. Building authentic relationships will consistently produce value throughout your leadership journey: Neha Kumar has held several different types of roles, some requiring that she manage large teams while her most recent role is mostly focused on building external partners. She noted that the theme across all these roles has been the ability to establish and maintain authentic relationships with people that result in open lines of communication and mutual benefit. In a remote work setting, achieving this with new partners has been more challenging but still achievable through increased efforts in upfront alignment around shared goals and making sure to document conversations well.
Remain transparent: Leading with honesty and transparency fosters trust among the team. Be open and honest with your team about the market challenges your company is facing: While at Eneza Education, Charles Ellioth learned the importance of finding ways to increase communication and feedback loops during difficult times. When your team or company is facing challenges such as finding product-market fit or struggling to fit within local regulations, regular and open communication is crucial to maintaining team morale. Charles and his manager found success in presenting the challenges being faced and brainstorming solutions with the wider team. This is better than the alternative, where the frustration around lack of information can result in rumors that cast uncertainty around the future of the company.
Info Session: Peer Coaching Network
Join us for an informational session about CoffeeChat's fast-growing Peer Coaching Network on Wednesday, 27 July at 6:00pm EAT. RSVP on our LinkedIn event page and we will send you the link to join the webinar ahead of the call.
Whether you're interested in joining yourself or signing up your team, this webinar will be a perfect opportunity to learn more and ask questions. If you already want to get started, apply to join here: https://www.coffeechat.co/#apply
Launched at the start of 2022, the CoffeeChat Peer Coaching Network already includes managers from over 100 companies working across Africa. Membership is limited to individuals who hold a management role at a company or organization with an operational footprint in an African market. Participants first engage in a self-paced e-learning module and comprehension quiz that introduces the principles of peer coaching and how to use the GROW model.
Upon completion of this training, participants are matched monthly with managers from different companies with similar experience levels to both provide and receive peer coaching over a two-way, 1-hour call. Through these calls, managers practice and hone a range of skills relevant to coaching their own teams, including active listening and crafting powerful questions. Participants also benefit from high-impact networking as they engage with emerging leaders working at interesting organizations and discover new strategies for their key challenges from others in different industries.
CoffeeChat is working with Credly, the digital credentialing leader, to provide digital badges. For more information about CoffeeChat’s digital credential program, visit https://www.credly.com/organizations/coffeechat/badges