If you could summarize all you have learned on your career journey into 3 key points what would they be? And if you could speak to your younger self about career expectations, what will you tell her? What if you could go back in time and speak to yourself about managing your boss, what will you say? Read what Country Manager, Android Partnerships for Google in Nigeria has to say about these and more as she takes our Career Questionnaire.
What is your number one hack for dealing with difficult colleagues/bosses?
I try to figure out what the person’s goal is and see how we might arrive at a win-win solution. If the situation gets personal, I focus on understanding why I find them difficult and what I’m reacting to and manage myself and expectations.
I typically also reach out directly to better understand what might be going on. In 80% of the cases, that works and I discover there were some underlying assumptions that were not working for both of us. If that fails, then I try to find someone they know/respect to get some insight on what might be driving the behavior I’m experiencing.
If all else fails, I raise the issue to HR. That’s only after I’ve honestly explored all other options I know available to me.
2 things you do when you are having a bad day?
Remind myself that the situation will be temporary and I just have to focus on getting through and taking lessons learnt with me
Listen to music that makes me happy and dance.
When you are creatively stuck, you…?
1) Have a conversation with my go-to creative people; I have 3 – 4 people I generally chat with. It doesn’t have to be about what I’m stuck with, but they generally make me think differently about things.
2) Disconnect from the topic and take a break to do something else (walk, read, chat) or just get quiet and meditate.
3) Surf the web on sites I find interesting.
4) Flip through magazines with lots of color, pictures.
5) Look at travel sites about different countries.
2 tips for navigating office politics?
Remember you have a life outside the office (if you don’t, you should!)
Understand that politics are part of human culture and “You win some, you lose some” so don’t take things personal.
Try not to play into it unless that’s your mode of operation.
If you could have a lunch date with one woman you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?
Missy Elliot. I would ask her how has she managed to stay relevant over time.
If you could wear the same hairstyle to work everyday, it would be?
Shaved sides, short on the top. Definitely my own hair. There is a freedom to it that I enjoy.
Your all time favorite book is..?
3 greatest lessons you have learnt on your career journey?
Show respect to people you meet. The most unexpected relationships can help you achieve your goals. E.g. an admin partner could get you a meeting with an executive that’s been hard to pin down.
Be very clear on where you want to grow in your career, and make it known. Take active steps to pursue on a regular basis. Not doing so could mean you get stuck in a phase for longer than planned.
Get a couple of trusted advisors to:
a) vent to when things go awry
b) get counsel from when trying to take important decisions
c) listen to when you need inspiration, and or growth advice.
In some cases, this could all be the same person. I’ve learnt to vent with the goal of getting it out of my system and moving on. Not doing so means staying stuck in the last place I was offended at the risk of not moving forward.
About Teju Ajani
Teju Ajani is the Country Manager, Android Partnerships for Google in Nigeria. She is passionate about technology and its potential as an economic equalizer and ability to open up opportunities for people. At Google she has built relationships working in business development in Nigeria, established and led YouTube content business across 8 countries in Africa, and is now focused on growing Android Partnerships in Nigeria with a keen interest in facilitating affordable devices for Nigerians.
She has accumulated a wealth of experience having worked in with major companies in technology, strategy and marketing in North America, Europe and Africa. Prior to Google Teju worked as senior product manager at Oracle where she was responsible for the management interface of an engineered system, Exalogic and working with partners such as the US government, VMWare in customer marketing, collaborating with partners on surfacing their technology success stories, BEA systems as Technical Account Manager, Systems engineer and Developer Relations Engineer, leading and advising top West Coast Banks in the US on technical infrastructure and deployment.
Teju has led the Women at Google group in Sub Saharan Africa for the past couple of years. An avid learner, she is a self-professed geek who loves to ideate. Favorite topics include Artificial Intelligence(AI), Internet of Things (IOT), digital content & strategy, human capital development, organizational health and strategy. She is a strong advocate for women in leadership.