Ep 70: New Year, New Team?

Ep 70

It's the last episode of 2022, and Akua is going over having a New Year, New Team. There is always the opportunity to reintroduce yourself to your team. People aren't robots, they evolve and change, and in order to keep your leadership relevant and influential, it's always a great idea to periodically reintroduce yourself. Akua calls it the "power of introductions."Akua works primarily alone when doing facilitation and coaching. But recently, she has been joining many new teams for short engagements, where they must come together quickly and not only work together but teach, coach, and facilitate dozens of important leaders. And do it immediately. So her recent experience has been a great reminder of important lessons for engaging a team. 

As you end your year and make goals for the next, listen in to find out how to create a stronger, better, and more connected team.

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What's Covered in this Episode About Decision Making

  • Akua talks about the 3-step process with which she supports leaders, including cultivating self-awareness, engaging and experimenting, and setting expectations for yourself and others. 
  • New teams need the opportunity to get to know each other. Existing teams need to re-engage and discover how the people they work with have evolved and shifted.
  • You have the power to always think about who you are, where you're going, and what you need in your professional AND personal life.
  • Leaders must be intentional about creating space for each team member to learn about themselves. 
  • Self-assessments are a great way to learn a vocabulary to talk about how a leader or team member is perceived, their preferences, etc. 
  • Knowing your team member's strengths and weaknesses is key, so you can cover for each other when you are working or presenting together. 
  • Akua talks about how to understand what success looks like and how to get there. She also encourages having a recovery plan for if/when things go off-track. 
  • Try to assume positive intent when working with a team - especially an ad hoc one when you don't know each other well.
  • Encourage each team member to provide feedback early and often.
  • Even if a team is not hierarchical, there still needs to be a clear decision-maker.

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "I think it's so important to provide a space for each team member first, to learn more about themselves." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "You always want to encourage each team member to provide feedback often and early." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Making sure that you the leader is are the best headspace possible, that you've taken care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and if it's something that you're into spiritually as well." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Mentioned in New Year, New Team?

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 70 about Goal-Setting

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 00:07 Welcome to the open door podcast. My name is Akua Nyame-Mensah Chaos respond to Aqua and I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised facilitator and former sort of leader that loves supporting reluctant buyer fighting and overwhelmed leaders. I work with them to help them clarify where they should focus their time and energy each and every day so that they can love themselves, love their work, and ultimately love their life. If you're looking to learn leadership information and hear different perspectives, you are in the right place. My aim in this podcast is to help you see that one of the most productive and profitable things you can do is deeply understand yourself. Understand how you show up, understand how you thrive, and allow yourself to align everything in your work in your life, and in your business to support that think of this podcast as your weekly opportunity to receive leadership support. And remember, there is no one right way to lead yourself or others. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. Let's get started. Hello, and welcome to this week's open door conversations podcast episode. I'm really excited about today's topic. It's something that I didn't initially plan to talk about. But I was doing another hashtag ask Akua episode, and I couldn't fit in the content there because that episode was actually quite long already. So I decided to give it its own episode, this is also going to be my last episode for 2020, which is a bit crazy. But I figured that I needed a break. And the people who support me with my podcast also need a break. So we're gonna get into it. All right, this is it, at least for this year. But we'll definitely be coming back in 2023. So today's topic is New Year new team. And I was trying to be cool and catchy with my topic or theme. Because I usually feel like I'm not cool or catchy. But one of the things that I always talk about, and I think is really important for leaders of all types and all kinds all around the world to really consider is that there is always an opportunity to reintroduce yourself. And this is actually one of my favourite topics to talk about, because I call it the power of introductions. And if you know anything about the three step process that I use to support leaders, it involves, you know, cultivating your self awareness, engaging and experimenting. And then lastly, thinking about how to set expectations for yourself and others, or some variation of that I sort of switch it or update it or elevate it a bit differently depending on the context that I'm in. But the long and short of it is that we have to intentionally use our self awareness to engage others and share with others how to make the best of us and to also bring others along, if we want to achieve goals that we've set for ourselves, the vision that we hold for ourselves and our businesses. So new teens need the opportunity to get to know each other. And all teams or existing teams need to reengage or need to relearn or see how the people that they work with have evolved and shifted. And that's why I really describe it as the power of introductions. And I think that if there's one thing that you take into the new year, there's one thing that you remind yourself of in 2023 is that you have the power to reintroduce yourself, you have the power to constantly be thinking about who you are, where you're going what you need, right and share that with others. And I think we can actually apply this to our personal life as well. But share it with others, and those who can support you on this journey. Because the long and short of it is you can't do it on your own. So as I mentioned before, I think this is such an important topic to keep in mind. It's something I really love to discuss, I love to speak about and facilitate conversations on and recently, okay, I've been joining a lot of new teams and I've been joining teams where we're not just being asked to work together, but we have to facilitate together we have to coach together and we have to present in front of dozens of important leaders. Okay, so this is not just you know, consulting behind doors or having conversations and like writing reports. This is we need to come together really quickly. We have to be super cohesive. We have to be able to like bounce things off of each other and we're doing it in public and we're doing it in front of clients immediately. And I've been doing this Actually in different places around the world, I'm actually currently recording this in Lagos, Nigeria, I didn't bring my mic with me. And so that's why this episode might sound a little bit different than some of my more recent episodes. But this is something I've been experiencing myself. And so what I wanted to do with this episode, New Year new team is share some recent lessons that I've learned and some of the things that I've been reminded since joining teams because I work primarily by myself, I, of course, have people support me in my business, but I work primarily by myself when I'm actually doing my facilitation and coaching. And so it's been really interesting to see what I'm like in a team again, especially in teams that I'm not in charge of, and I don't completely control. So I have and let me just count it out. 123 things, three things, I think that are really important, of course, are also aligned with this, you know, three step process that I love to teach. And I love to keep in mind as I support leaders. So the first I think, is really all about that cultivating that self awareness piece. And so with that cultivating self awareness piece, I think that a key thing that leaders need to keep in mind and should constantly keep in mind is that they need to create space, they need to intentionally create space for their team to get to know each other, and for their team to reintroduce themselves to each other if they've been working together for a while. And so I think it's critical. I think it is vital, I think that it's essential. All right, I'm coming up with some Theodorus words here. But I think it's so important to provide a space for each team member first, to learn more about themselves. And I think a really great way to do that, of course, is by leveraging self assessments, and assessments, psychometric assessments, any sort of tool that can help a leader get the language or vocabulary to talk about their preferences, to talk about how they might come across to talk about how they might be perceived with others. And I think it's sort of like extra credit bonus, honestly, best practice, if it's something that all the leaders take, right. So something that will create a common language, with all the leaders within that group, that community or that organisation. And so I think when we're thinking about cultivating self awareness, making sure that you've provided that space for each team member to cultivate their own self awareness. First, I think it's really key. The next step is then to create space for those team members to share their preferences, their worries, the stories, they tell themselves when they're not feeling so great. Their interest, write their needs, so that each team member has an opportunity to hear it. Listen, I've seen some teams do a really good job of like doing recordings, it can also be like a little workbook or a PowerPoint, right, so that each team member can make the most of them. Okay. So that's really, I think, the first step and I think that's something that's so key and so critical. And with the teams that I've been working on, as I mentioned before, it's even more important, because we're sort of performing together, right, we're doing these things together. So it's really important that we're able to come together really quickly, so that we can support each other. And we know each other's strengths and weaknesses. So that ultimately, right, we can cover for each other, if necessary, as well. And I think that that's also very key and important when you're working in an environment or a space. That's not necessarily performance, or coaching or facilitation based, as well. So creating those intentional spaces are key. And if you're asking yourself, like, what are some of the things that you can ask or some of the things that you can keep in mind, this is some language actually, from a project that I worked on recently that I thought was potentially really helpful. And so a lot of this, I think, can apply once again, in any situation. So the first thing on here was if N in this case, you can make it, I put x but if x went exactly how we want, what would happen. So this first question here is really about helping you reflect on or help each individual reflect on what the end goal is what success looks like, and then recognising, it's going to look a little bit different for everyone. So everyone getting sort of on the same page around what success looks like. And you can of course, replace x with anything, right? So it could be replacing x with a specific project title, it can be replacing x with something related to your department, a programme. So that's really the first step right, everyone's sort of getting clear on like, what success looks like and what we want out of it, which I think is very key to understanding how to motivate and engage. The second thing is for individuals to reflect on and share what they need to get there. So asking what I need to get there is right. So using that really as a statement to get them started to think about what they need in order to be successful. How I would typically respond to this, especially in something that's project based is, I need to understand the timelines and deadlines, because for me understanding that is really key and vital to being able to show up. All right, the next one on here is when things go wrong, what will help us get on track? Right, so recognising that things won't be perfect. I think this is a key thing for teams to really keep in mind. And those of you maybe who've read some, you know, leadership books on teams, there's one particular approach, and I'm forgetting the name of the author, but it's around this idea of you know, norming, storming, right that teams right groups go through these phases. And so it's important also to problem solve prior to potentially having issues. So if things go wrong, what can we do to make sure we get back on track. And what I typically think of or what I like to keep in mind in relation to this is assume positive intent, right? Because it's so easy, especially on a project, or especially on something that's a little bit more ad hoc, and we won't be working on it long for people to get really frustrated very easily, especially if it's quite an intimate thing. And I mentioned before, right, I do a lot of work with other facilitators. So we're kind of performing together. And that's quite intimate, right, in a way. So assuming positive 10 is something I like to keep in mind. I'd love to know what you would keep in mind if things go wrong. What would you keep in mind to help us get back on track? Let me know. All right, the next one on here is you can count on me for or eight. So what can a team member count on you for for me, typically, its energy, or accountability. To play devil's advocate, it will look different for everyone, but keeping that in mind and sharing with others. And as you go through this, and you're thinking about the key questions, to ask to make sure that you know the team can really come together and mesh well and be able to perform. The key thing here is not to overthink it. When some you know, leaders are thinking about team building, they feel like it has to be this big, elaborate thing. And it has to be outside. And it has to involve all these bells and whistles. It really doesn't. When I've done this in the past, and I've done similar things for other teams, we can just use an online platform with virtual stickies, it can be as simple as using like a shared like Google's version of PowerPoints. All right, and it can also be done in a chat and someone can just put the responses together. So people can flip back and see what people shared and have a better understanding of once again, how to engage with each other, you know, online or virtually right. So it's not rocket science, it doesn't have to involve a lot of different things. But I think it's really key once again, that leaders create intentional spaces for leaders to better understand themselves, and then of course, to better understand their teammates. So that's really that first step, right? And something that I've learned or relearned as now a member on different teams. Right. The second one I have on here. And I think it's somewhat related to engaging and experimenting in a way. But I think it's also really key to keep in mind is that even if a team and I have this in quotes, and I know unfortunately, you can't see me, but I'm quoting in the air. But even if a team is not hierarchical, right, technically, like no one's above each other. And once again, I work in a lot of project teams where that's technically the case, there still needs to be a clear decision maker, I think, or a clear convener, someone who will make that final decision or who at least is responsible for making sure that something is going to be done, recorded, followed through on. And I think that this is incredibly important, no matter what stage your team is in. And if you're sort of pushing back and you're like, No, the team isn't hierarchical, it's important that if a task responsibilities assigned at least there's one person who's responsible for that task, or responsibility, at least, and who will see it through right, or who will be held account, if it doesn't go through, right. And once again, you can experiment with this in different ways you can think about how best this can look for your team. But I think it's incredibly important that there's some sort of convener, there's some clear decision maker, or at least some clear person who's accountable for whatever needs to be done. So that's the second thing I put on here. And then the last thing I have on here, and this is, of course, related to that expectations piece that I think that a lot of times we forget about until it's too late, is that you always want to encourage each team member to provide feedback often in early. This is something I know that can be difficult to do when people first come together, simply because they don't want to step on anyone's toes or they feel like you know, it's not their place because you know, they want to wait to see what's really going to happen, and that can be really disastrous. So thinking about how to create a process for feedback. There are a lot of existing approaches and strategies that you can find on line. But you know, making sure that there are open channels to provide that feedback. And then making sure that you're creating a culture where people are not giving feedback to the feedback, right. So just make it clear what that process is. And you know, some people are going to be upset, some people are going to push back. But ultimately, what you want to do is create a, you know, a culture of feedback, but not a culture of giving feedback about the feedback that was given. I hope that makes sense. But it's something actually that I was talking to a co facilitator I'm working with today. And I think it's something really to keep in mind, a huge part of this is going to be that you as a leader modelling how to give that feedback. I think that's key. And I really don't see anything wrong with creating worksheets or checklists along how to give feedback as well, to really make sure that people have an understanding of what it's going to look like. And you know, how they can make the most of this. And these, I think, three things that I shared. So the firstly around creating intentional space for cultivating that self awareness, that second piece really about making sure that there's someone who's responsible for things, and that it's clear no matter what stage your company or your team is in. And then last but not least, encouraging your team to provide feedback early. And often. Those are three things I think that any team needs to keep in mind as you go into the new year, making sure that you're creating space for these things, making sure that you are even clear on how to do that. And maybe even you're at a point where your team can create policies about how to do that. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I've shared about new team New Years, some of this might sound like, Hey, these are things I've heard before. But a huge part I think about being an effective leader is making sure that you're communicating some of the same things over and over again, because you want to be as consistent as possible. So hopefully, I'm being very consistent in my messaging around the things I think any leader needs to keep in mind, especially leader that wants to be proactive, right? They want to be inspiring, they want to be influential, making sure that you're consistent. And you're you know, really showing up the way that you are talking and the way that you expect your team to be is really going to help you get very far. All right. So what are the things should leaders keep in mind to start the year off? Right? Let me know, you know, you can always reach out to me on LinkedIn, my social media, things are always in the show notes. But those are some of the things that I think all leaders need to keep in mind. And as I mentioned before, I've been joining new teams. And so these are things that I'm actually seeing work really well in the spaces that I'm in. So I think ultimately, the biggest thing from my perspective that any leader needs to keep in mind, right, in addition to those three things I shared is making sure that you the leader is in the best headspace possible, right, that you've taken care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and if it's something that you're into spiritually as well. So if you want to make 2023, your best year ever, right? And I say that, but I think it's also important to keep in mind that you can take action, build new habits, routines, be a better leader at any point in time. But I know for a lot of people, the start of the new year is a big opportunity to do something different and new. So keeping that in mind, I wanted to share some of the things I'd recommend you take a listen to right beyond this podcast episode to make sure you get your year started off on the right foot. Alright, so these are some of the episodes I'd recommend that you take a listen to, you know most of us are going to be thinking about what are some of the things that we want to set for ourselves in terms of goals, so make sure that you take a listen to my goal setting tricks episode, I think it's a great episode. I also recommend that you take a look at the check in with your goals now. If anything, start with the check in with your goals now episode to see what you did over the last year. And then think about what you can do better next year in terms of setting goals. The next thing I think I definitely want to mention is want to make better decisions, aka reach your goals faster, rest more. So take a listen to that podcast episode. I think it's a great episode that all leaders should listen to. And keep in mind as this holiday season's coming up. And if you're having a hard time taking time off, all right, make sure that you listen to how to take a holiday as a founder slash boss solopreneur slash CEO. I think it's going to give you some food for thought and maybe even some things that you can share with other people within your company. If they're saying Hey, why are you taking a break? Alright, last but not least, if you need some more convincing about the importance of taking a break the importance of resting, take a listen to my podcast episode burnout, better leaders are not stressed out and parentheses denial about burnout. Alright, because I think those are all things leaders should be keeping in mind. And so those are just I think some great episodes to get you started off on the New Year. And because this is my last episode of 2023. If you want to listen to some additional episodes, I'd really recommend those. All right, as always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen my podcast this year. I really appreciate it. I hope that You've learned a few things. I hope that you've just agreed with a few things. Let me know what you've disagreed with. I love having those conversations. And I love hearing different perspectives, because that's what this podcast is all about. All right. As I mentioned before, this will be my last episode for this year. We'll be back in 2023 Thank you so much. And remember, stay safe. Stay safe. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to today's episode. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please share it with your friends. We can continue this conversation on social media the links to my socials so that is LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. You can find them in the show notes. If you tagged me in a story and include the hashtag hashtag ask Akua I will share a special little gift with you. Thank you so much once again for your time and I cannot wait to share my next episode with you stay safe and sane.


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