#LLACareerQuestionnaire Lehle Balde, Senior Associate Strategy Innovation and Partnerships at Business Day Media, West Africa Says the Biggest Step To Achieving Anything at Work is To Have a Positive Mindset

Pan-African strategy and communications professional has the ’hot seat’ on our career series today? She talks about effective communication, respect, emotional intelligence and highlights other key themes for building a conscious career. You should lean in.

What is your number one hack for dealing with difficult colleagues/bosses?

Respect goes a long way. I find that ensuring that your colleagues, junior or senior know that you respect and care about them is important. Also, focus on the objective. What is your objective? You will meet difficult people every day so you might as well expect it.

The most important thing is to understand the overall objective and the part you play in the team you are a part of. Notwithstanding, effective communication and emotional intelligence are paramount to dealing with difficult personalities in general. Most importantly, to the best of one’s ability, ensure every piece of work you do is something you are proud of and ask for help when you need to.

2 things you do when you are having a bad day?

Work out.

Treat myself to something that nourishes my soul usually in the form of food or self-care.

When you are creatively stuck, you? 

I try to walk around and get some fresh air. I’m most productive during the day so I try to get as much creative work done during the day. I have also come to understand that creativity and productivity are directly related to my peace of mind and health, so I try to ensure my environment and interactions are conducive for optimal productivity. 

2 tips for navigating office politics

At a macro level, effective communication is key. The power of clear and concise communication can change any interaction. From my small experience, I find that it helps. Also, remember to keep it professional at all times. If anyone starts to gossip, my advice is to change the subject to work-related topics. You must train yourself to be ready to change the subject. Have ready in your mind 2 or 3 work-related issues you can use to change the subject. If you do that, you send the message that you are not into other people’s privacy.

I also find that being transparent and positive in nature goes a long way. If you have a misunderstanding with someone and you come to see where you could have been wrong, don’t be afraid to apologize. You also have to remember not to take everything personal, as difficult as that might be. 

If you could have a lunch date with one woman you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her? 

I would like to have lunch with Folorunsho Alakija, Aisha Ahmad, Lerato Mbele Roberts or Amina Mohammed. I admire them all for different reasons. As for what I would ask, it would differ depending on who. However, the conversation would be focused on career and attempting to learn as much as I can from their various paths. I would absolutely love an opportunity. Maybe one-day ?

If you could wear the same hairstyle to work every day, it would be

Natural hair twists. It is  easy and out of my face which is convenient for me. I love the versatility of natural hair. 

Your all-time favorite book is 

Becoming by Michelle Obama, Kirikou et la sorcière by Michel Ocelot, Maimouna by Abdoulaye Sadji, Upheaval by Jared Diamond. The babysitters club was my favorite as a child.

3 greatest career lessons you have learned on your journey? 

  • It’s not about being perfect it is about doing your best each and every time and learning from your mistakes.
  • Fall 10 times, get up 12.
  • The biggest step to achieving results at work is your mindset. A positive and result oriented mindset and outlook are key. 

About Lehle Balde

Born in Canada to Senegalese parents, Ms Lehlé Baldé is a Pan-African strategy and communications professional and a passionate financial inclusion advocate and culinary columnist.

She has lived in over 11 countries: Canada, Madagascar, U.K, Kenya, Italy, Swaziland, Rwanda, Cameroun, Senegal, Mozambique, Nigeria and has visited many more. She speaks French and English fluently in addition to conversational Spanish.

She holds a BA in communication from the University of Waterloo in Canada and a master’s degree in international Marketing Strategy from the University of Northampton in the United Kingdom.  She currently works in strategy and partnerships at West Africa’s most authoritative daily and content producer, Business Day.

Ms. Balde is a senior associate Strategy Innovation and Partnerships at Business Day Media, West Africa’s leading provider of business intelligence and information on diversified media platforms including online, mobile and print. Ms. Baldé is the anchor of Financial Inclusion Today a radio show program on Rhythm 93.7 powered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The radio show is the first of its kind in the world and started as an effort to foster conversation and raise awareness on financial inclusion issues in Nigeria. Stream the show here.

Ms. Baldé is also the columnist behind BusinessDay Culinary Delights’which is a weekly column that tells positive food stories out the amazing restaurants in Nigeria. She is the editor of the Business Day CEO magazine a digital magazine that tells the stories of African millennial entrepreneurs. She is the co-producer of The Bridge Talk Show season 2 and 3 which is a television program aimed to bridge the financial knowledge and information gap for millennials.

Ms. Baldé has worked with both the public and the private sectors in the UK, Nigeria, Mozambique, Cameroun, and Canada. She regularly moderates conferences and panels on issues she is passionate about. She is particularly passionate about financial inclusion, culinary experiences, travel, writing, socio-economic development, human rights and the continent of Africa.

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