Campaign Update

My Leadership Style

Olanike
Posted January 19, 2017 from Nigeria

The last quarter of 2016 was the most challenging part of the year for me, though in a remarkably progressive way. At one point, I was inundated with work inquiries that needed to be followed up on, projects that needed to be executed, and deadlines that urgently had to be met. Being one who is unavoidably handling multiple roles in my nonprofit organization-Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE) and who is still learning and perfecting my delegating skills, I had my plate pretty full. Typically, I end up overloading myself with work. More often than not, I don’t delegate because I want to make sure everything is done rightand on time. Also, I habitually find it difficult to turn down certain tasks that others (family, friends, associates, etc.) ask me to do. Time and again, I end up overstretched, unduly pressured, stressed out, and less efficient.

Since being founded, WISE has solely relied on ad-hoc, part time, and volunteer staffing —a situation that has undoubtedly limited the scope, reach, and impact of my work. I recognize and understand that one of the greatest setbacks remains the lack of adequate funding to build and sustain an effective system for managing my organization’s recruitment processes and activities, and also delivering our programs. “One of the greatest challenges facing nonprofits is attracting and retaining qualified talent. Without this talent, organizations are unable to achieve their mission,” writes Alicia Schoshinski a Senior HR Consultant. As such, identifying and securing funding for program operations and execution is a major priority in the New Year.

Over time, I had increasingly become accustomed to skipping meals and working all night particularly when I needed to meet application deadlines, writing schedules, and/or complete work tasks. Sometime in 2013, my now deceased loving dad told me that he noticed that the only time I fell ill was when I didn’t have much work to do. I took it as his way of acknowledging me as a hard worker and go-getter. Seeing that I didn’t fully get the message, he later told me that what he was trying to let me know was that I had formed a dangerous habit of driving myself to a breaking point. While I appreciated his feedback, I don’t believe I fully embraced his concerns. Soon enough, reality set in when fatigue and insomnia started taking a toll on my health, in 2015 in particular. I never understood how bad the situation was until months later when I attended an empowerment workshop at Ife (South Western Nigeria) in November 2015; as precondition for my in class training at the Empowerment Institute (EI) in New York. I arrived at Ife feeling dead beat, even though I pulled through the highly helpful workshop sessions. It is worthy of mention that the IMAGINE Program Empowerment workshop was hosted and facilitated by Busayo Obisakin, a World Pulse sister, even as the scholarship opportunity was offered to me by Gail Straub (cofounder of the Empowerment Institute) during the course of my participation in the 2014 World Pulse Live Speaking tour.

The empowerment module emphasizes seven key life areas (emotion, relationship, body, work, money, sexuality and spirituality) to flourish, and each must be addressed. Based on how drained and unwell I was feeling from the first day of the training, I knew that the area of life I needed to immediately start paying special attention to was ‘My body.’ So, I left the workshop with renewed determination to ensure that I begin with minimum of 6 hours of sleep per night. I returned home having that as an affirmation and to date, my sleeping and eating habits have consistently improved. The learning from my in-class training at the Empowerment Institute in January and June 2016 has further awakened a sense of self-awareness that is helping me connect with my body and to also appreciate the essence of personal and organizational development.

As an EI scholar, I currently have a coach assigned to me alongside other scholars from different parts of Africa. Theresa McGharan, EI’s Sub-Saharan Africa Region mentor and coach, is specially assigned to provide guidance and coaching instructions that are specific to my IMAGINE certification training and also tailored to the Institute’s Empowerment curriculum. This relationship addresses my personal development and empowerment, as well as my work as an Empowerment Facilitator.

My commitment to leadership development focuses on improving employee engagement, conflict resolution, self-awareness of my leadership style in ways that will empower me and the people I work with. Little wonder that when I was given an opportunity to work on a growing edge during my last IMAGINE Master Trainer Certification Program (IMTCP) Mentoring/coaching session call on December 8th 2016, I chose to work on the issue of my leadership style; particularly because I knew it was really important for me to get past putting up with unproductive employees and volunteers. I had for long unconsciously held unto a wrong notion that “an authoritative leader is a bully”, thus allowing workers to get away with many excesses. With expert guidance from Theresa, I arrived at an affirmation that “I am a courageous leader and I confront difficult issues in an empowering way”. As an emerging entrepreneur, I recognize and appreciate the invaluable gifts of knowledge, feedback, and support that I’ve benefited from. I’ve continued to grow as a businessperson, as a leader and as an individual.

I feel fortunate to have participated in the WP Impact Leader program where I’ve received help from my Impact leader team members, especially Ellen Wasyl and Sabiha Hasan, because their insight, guidance, and support has been tremendously reassuring. Their mentoring/coaching support is fast helping me become better skilled at finding, recruiting, assigning, supervising, coaching and or guiding my staff and volunteers. The greatest news with regard to HR / Staffing is our newest WISE addition. As a result of the WP Impact Team’s efforts, Sabiha has joined our organization as our Human Resource and Management expert. Sabiha has graciously and generously offered to join WISE as a Volunteer Director of Human Resources, starting January 2017. She remains an invaluable addition as she is already working round the clock to redefine our recruitment strategies to attract and retain the right fit of staff and volunteers, and very importantly, standardize the Human Resource policy of WISE. Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Now, I am able to direct my attention majorly on business development, funding, and also finding potential investors in our social enterprise.

Our Impact Leader Coach and Facilitator Ellen is also not resting her oars as she is leading our team’s efforts to develop a winning Business model for our envisioned Women’s ECO learning Centre. These strategic endeavours are a game-changer for me and my work. I am so relieved to have the understanding and listening ears of Ellen and Sabiha and their powerful shoulders to lean on as they continue to help unleash my management and leadership potentials.

Comments 27

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Adanna
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 20, 2017

Dear Sis Olanike,

I look at you and I smile.

Your resilience and determination to make life better for so many women especially in Nigeria is evident.

Keep shinning sister!

Love,

Adanna

Olanike
Jan 21, 2017
Jan 21, 2017

Nice to hear from you my sister, Adanna. I am able to continue shining because I have sisters like you who are also shining and supporting me in unique ways.

I appreciate you dearly for your kind words of acknowledgement. Such keeps me going and continues to inspire me and help me see what is possible. I applaud you and the work you are also doing to better the lots of women and girls too! Every seemingly little effort we are each making is definitely adding up and contributing to make the world better.

Lets stay connected! Sending you much love and encouragement too, as you continue to blaze the trail and forge the cause you believe in and represent, ahead.

Hugs and gratitude,

Olanike

JaniceW
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 20, 2017

Congratulations on Sabiha joining your team as a HR Consultant. I have no doubt that her expertise will prove helpful to you as you grow WISE. I am also very excited about the progress you have made on your business model — you have all put so much work into this and the results speak for themselves. It is becoming clearer as to where the gaps and opportunities lie which will serve you well as you plan forward. Well done!

Olanike
Jan 21, 2017
Jan 21, 2017

You have been there every step of the way Janice- journeying with me and also acknowledging, inspiring, encouraging, cheering and celebrating me. Thank you for all you've done and continue to do.

The Impact leader journey as certainly been illuminating, enriching, empowering and transformational. I would some it up as a much needed and timely intervention in my life and work. As I continue to count and name my blessings in the light of the Impact Leader journey, I celebrate everyone who has contributed to the possibilities recorded.

Love, gratitude and respect,

Olanike

Colleen Abdoulah
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 20, 2017

What I think is so impressive is that with each opportunity to learn and be exposed to new ideas and receive help from others you do so with grace and openness. You are a beauty inside and out. If I may contribute anything additional to WISE outside of my giving to WP, please let me know what your greatest needs are and I will do what I can. Many blessings to you and all you are influencing. 

Jan 21, 2017
Jan 21, 2017
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Olanike
Jan 21, 2017
Jan 21, 2017

I celebrate you Colleen! WISE celebrates you!!!! Your words brought tears to my eyes and each tear drop is filled with tons of gratitude to you!!!!!!! As write the tears continue to flow in gratitude to you for daring to believe in me enough to trust me with your game changing resources. You sure know what I mean

Colleen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am delighted to let you know and tell the whole world too that every effort I am making to facilitate women's access to clean cooking options has become what it is today because of your generous gift, love and care. See:https://www.worldpulse.com/en/content/we-still-dance . We could dance because you showed up when the dream was conceived. Each story and impact recorded is thus connected to you and I dedicate every success to God and to you!

World Pulse is truly blessed to have your leadership. Thank you for lighting my world with your trust, care, simplicity, commitment and generosity. I will certainly stay in touch and keep you posted. Sending you my greenest love!

Deepest gratitude and respect,

Olanike

juliette
Jan 20, 2017
Jan 20, 2017

Congratulations sister! Your urge and determination will keep taking WISE to higher heights!

Du courage!

Juliette

Olanike
Jan 21, 2017
Jan 21, 2017

Dear Sister,

Thank you for reaching out with your words of encouragement and support. I wish you the very best in all your endeavors too.

Love and hugs,

Olanike

Afymab
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 24, 2017

I read the first part of your post and say to myself: "Hey, she had the same life as you but you still complaining".

It is really inspiring and congratulations for coming up to these challenges.

Keep up, sister

Olanike
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Sister,

First I must let you know how dearly I appreciate you for reaching out and being open. You are not alone and I celebrate you too. Sending you my greenest love.

Hugs,

Olanike

Tamarack Verrall
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 24, 2017

My dear sister,

Here is what went through my head and heart as I read your latest report here. If anyone on this earth is facing the enormous difficulties of building a movement that is grand enough to embrace so many, it is you. Your messages of wrestling with personal expectations of self against the hurdles of human limitations are a strong reminder that even, and especially, the strongest of women need enough rest, food, sleep...and support. Your messages are ones I read carefully, first because my heart would not be able to stand your loss of precious health, and secondly, I am paying close attention and so glad for your openness because this drive to do as much as we can, and expectations of self are so familiar. Your description that high level leadership training focusses on how important it is to take care of ourselves is a strong reminder, much expanded by your willingness to describe your personal journey. And with such victory! By the end I was out of my seat cheering at all that is falling into place for you. What an inspiration you are. What a joy to be able to follow your journey.

With love and a big hug in sisterhood,

Tam

Olanike
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

I remain in awe of your listening prowess and the ingenuity revealed each time you share your feedback with me and our other sisters in this community. It is a clear testimony that there is so much we can continue to learn from each other in progressive ways.

I could vividly imagine the smile on your face, and joy in your heart when you got out of your seat. Wow!!! Thank you for always being there to cheer me on. I have no doubt that you care and would love to see me on top of my game always.

Hugs and gratitude, Olanike.

PilarAlbisu
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dear Sister,

Reading your post, I was truly left with a sense of how strong and determined you are. But more importantly, how stoic and graceful under pressure! For me, it is truly a lesson in self-confidence, but especially, a lesson in self-love. As your story showed, the moment that you were able to start taking care of yourself, new doors opened and life seemed to work once again in your favour. When we take time to listen to our own bodies and minds, everything else just follows naturally! I am so inspired by all the tremendous work you are doing along with your fellow World Pulse sisters. Thank you, truly, for being such an inspiration for the rest of us!

Wishing you continued success and health!

Pilar

Olanike
Jan 25, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Dearest Pilar,

Your words are so empowering and echoes the importance of self love!!!! Time and again, I have learned that one cannot give what one does not have. So, the best way to learn how to love others, is for one to consciously learn how to love oneself.

This one good lesson for women, as we more often than not forget ourselves while giving our all to others; especially those we love. I am glad that there is always something new women can learn from each other.

I appreciate you for reaching out.

Love,

Olanike

JANEKALU
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Dear Olanike, each time i read from you, my consciousness is awaken to  the fact the women needs more dedication and encouragement to attain the height they are striving for. I share in your success  

Cheers

Jane Kalu

Olanike
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Hello Jane,

It's nice to hear from you here! Yes, every woman needs all the  encouragement and support that can be garnered to attain the height they are aspiring for. There is no stopping a woman who is dedicated to and passionate about her vision for positive change. Thank you my dear sister for sharing in my success. God's grace is sufficient for us all.

Sending loads of green love your way. Hugs too!

Olanike
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 26, 2017

Hello Jane,

It's nice to hear from you here! Yes, every woman needs all the  encouragement and support that can be garnered to attain the height they are aspiring for. There is no stopping a woman who is dedicated to and passionate about her vision for positive change. Thank you my dear sister for sharing in my success. God's grace is sufficient for us all.

Sending loads of green love your way. Hugs too!

Carolyn Seaman
Jan 28, 2017
Jan 28, 2017

Dear Sister Olanike,

You always share such vivid and riveting stories that always inspire and encourage me. Although we have shared a lot of these experiences in various conversations, reading it still draws me in to look deep within myself to be courageous to deal with those areas of my life that need work.

I am so blessed to be inspired by you and Sister Busayo. And now, I am walking and charting my own empowerment journey with you two holding my hands every step of the way. I appreciate and celebrate you my Sisters.

Love,

Carolyn

Olanike
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

My very dear sister Carolyn,

You are such a sweet personality! I am so glad that we are connected in ways that continues to provide opportunities for us to support each other. There is so much we can continue to learn from each other, and I am happy to know that the piece resonated with you in specific ways.

I feel highly blessed to have the opportunity to hold your hands and have you hold mine too alongside sister Busayo as we continue to inspire each other and make the most of our empowerment journey. Together we can!

Much love,

Olanike

Araba
Feb 08, 2017
Feb 08, 2017

I love your drive! keep it up!

Olanike
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

You rock Araba! Thank you loads for reaching out. Let's stay connected sis.

Hugs,

Olanike

ColoradoKat
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Dear Sister Olanike,

Your story is one of many women I know and familiar to me, sometimes it seems easier and the best course to just do it all ourselves rather than ask for help or to hold others accountable. With education, experience and coaching we get wiser and recognize the power of engaging others and leading by example. I commend you on your willingness to seek counsel, your insight to recognize the patterns that no longer served you, and your courage to change the way you lead. Your organization and the work you are doing is so important -- the world needs YOU healthy strong and thriving!!

Love, Kathy

Olanike
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Dearest sister Kathy,

I feel lifted reading your words. Even so, I very much love what you said about the role "education, experience and coaching plays in helping us recognize the power of engaging others and leading by example". Thank you loads for giving me an encouraging pat on the back and reminding me to pamper myself well enough to keep the work going (I am full of smiles and appreciation). Yay!

Sending you my greenest love,

Olanike

Olanike
Feb 14, 2017
Feb 14, 2017

Dearest sister Kathy,

I feel lifted reading your words. Even so, I very much love what you said about the role "education, experience and coaching plays in helping us recognize the power of engaging others and leading by example". Thank you loads for giving me an encouraging pat on the back and reminding me to pamper myself well enough to keep the work going (I am full of smiles and appreciation). Yay!

Sending you my greenest love,

Olanike

Pushpa Achanta
May 10, 2017
May 10, 2017

Dear sister,

Thanks for your inspiring story. I agree that it's vital for us to care for ourselves, seek help and recover so that we can assist others as required. You probably know that the brave and legendary poet and activist Audre Lorde wrote and spoke about the need for self-care.

May you keep touching more lives through your expression and action.

Love and best wishes,

Pushpa

hbritt
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017

Thank you for sharing your story.

It's wonderful to see the constant stream of positivity throughout your story. Being able to self reflect & improve where you needed to. It's so easy to get into a routine of driving yourself into the ground without reflecting on what's really important. Your story is wonderful and encouraging to all women in your situation.

All the best!