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Q&A with Andisa Liba

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Andisa Liba , Chief People Officer @Floatpays and Co-Founder of Women’s Tech Connection

How could you describe your career path in few words?

My career path is the quintessential definition of evolution and I have always embraced this quality about my perceptions of what my personal growth needed to be at different points of my career. My career has evolved from journalism to public relations and marketing to human capital all extensions of the things I love about my personal abilities. When I look back now, I realise that my path has been colourful, challenging, ambitious and daring and I’ve derived so much joy from all these experiences. I’ve always taken the road less travelled and treated my career like a jungle gym. Always open to making lateral moves that challenge and grow me, leaning into my strengths and learning from my blind spots and using them as a leapfrog to more sustainable personal growth. What was your most challenging experience, and how did it change your mindset?

My first executive role was a huge leapfrog moment for me. There are no programs in the world that can fully prepare you for leadership and the school of life is the only institution of learning. I had to audit my values and reframe them and decide what type of leader do I choose to be. My values took centre stage and almost hijacked my newfound purpose unconsciously but to some degree to an awareness that I knew my values would impact my decision making. The time I spent managing and building relationships at a senior level and recognising that ultimately my values would determine my behaviour and subsequent life outcomes and responsibilities that come with being entrusted to lead people was an enormous undertaking and responsibility that has been truly rewarding. As part of this journey, I had to learn that courage is first a quiet inner process of discipline and focus before it is a loud heroic act. Initially the journey to commitment is quiet and lonely and you must walk it alone first before anything tangible starts to manifest externally. Understand that conflict is a natural and critical aspect of teaming. Of all the stages of a team, there is none feared more than conflict by most people. Yet the more senior you become in an organization, the more you will have to lead and influence through the management of conflict. So, it is vital that you learn to understand and embrace conflict early on in your career. The first mindset shift is accepting that conflict is not only inevitable but a necessary step to sustained success when you know how to unbundle and learn from it. It reveals to you the true state of the team as well as the organization and can be a source of great insights for further development.

What are some good leadership qualities to possess as a leader in the modern workplace?

Since the start of the pandemic and the challenging social environment many have faced business leaders have seen first hand how the lack of support and empathy will impact employee’s engagement and fuel a desire to look for employment elsewhere. Now more than ever it has been imperative for leaders to show compassion as they lead. Equally important is understanding your own personality style and how to tailor the influence you have on others, so you can lead effectively. This key insight allows you to gain clarity on your own leadership strength and how to maximize your ability to show up for others but most importantly it allows you as a leader to gain a better understanding of your blind spots and areas of development as an individual. Always be aware of the values that anchor you at any given moment in your life especially as a leader. Name them, write them down and talk about them in the conversations you have. This will not only act as a reminder to you about what matters but will act as a signal to attract the kind of people, energy and business associations you really desire. This has been the case for me when I made the transition into my current role at Floatpays, my values became the conduit that led me to a team whose values align with mine and the opportunity to do work that is aligned to my purpose. Resolve competing values by rating which comes first. Sometimes we hold two or more powerful values in equal regard, and this can complicate decision-making. Lead by example and make sure you’re getting good quality sleep, meaning try to send no emails at midnight as much as possible. Encourage healthy eating habits and practices that help to silence the mind through wellness programmes. Modern research is showing us that leaders who create an enabling environment for the brain to thrive, find themselves facing less resistance from the people they lead. Teams become more creative, better problem solvers and can deliver the right energy to the work they are doing.

Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?

Your ability as a leader to be able to comprehend that the human experience is both nuanced and complex allows you to be able to see the humanness in everyone. See the human side of people irrespective of their gender or yours. When the going gets tough and you feel like people are not rising to the occasion, speak to the part of them that is reluctant to take risks or to work harder. Gently nudge the part of them that is resistant and speak to their values they have cultivated and those they aspire to cultivate. A lot of our reactions to the world are driven by memories of what scares or excites us or by what we deeply value. People’s reactions seldom have anything to do with that is happening in that exact moment. The best and arguably most difficult thing to do is to take the time to understand the earlier influences of the people you have the responsibility to lead and how those may manifest in the workplace. The art of story telling is so richly important to any leader, according to research conducted by global consulting firm McKinsey, influential leadership starts with a compelling story. Learning the art of storytelling, starting with learning how to tell your own story. What inspires you? What compels you to lead? Why should anyone be led by you? Build on this story all through your career. It will help you tell the other stories that are more connected to projects or the people you are leading. Lastly embracing your natural born instincts and leaning into them often and resisting the urge to assimilate to masculinity if you’re not that way inclined is key.

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