Effective Leadership Slides

Let me share with you some slides from talks I have given on #effectiveleadership, #servantleadership, #leadingfromwhereyouare #leadershiptips #powerskills etc.

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Also find here the link to a free summit, where you can learn from experienced Leaders, Project Managers and other specialists:

Project Management & Technology Summit

2nd March 2023

Free PM Summit, 22 speakers, 2 tracks, 30 minutes each.
Starts 2. March 2023 7:00pm East African Time

My Talk is at 9pm

You are Allowed to Take a Break

How often do we set ourselves optimistic timelines and end up disappointing ourselves, because our body and mind demands a break.

Don’t allow yourself to be pulled down. Take that break! You need it and you deserve it.

I am currently in the privileged position that I have 2 days a week for non-client work, on which I am meant to do my writing, catch up with accounts, prepare, and in future hold workshops. In other words I am flexible. The last few years have been tough on me. Add an autoimmune disease into the equation and you can imagine my body begs for rest once in a while. I had to learn to take deliberate breaks.


A few Facts

Let’s start with a few medical facts. I am a Nurse after all.

  1. If you work more than 50 hours a week your overall output will become less instead of more! Yes we need those breaks. Our body needs rest, our mind needs rest
  2. You do not switch off if you go from screen to screen. So being glued to your phone in your work breaks you are not switching off. A trap I fall into often enough myself. And when you get home don’t switch on the TV immediately. Reading an actual book instead of your Kindle is also better for you.
  3. You need to remove your eyes from the screen regularly for proper focus. – Read that again! It is actually recommended to remove your eyes from the key board, or put your pen down every 20min and look around.
  4. Forbes has the following suggestions in the article “The Most Productive Ways to take Breaks”
  5. Here is another blog with medical Facts “7 Science Backed Ways to Take Better Breaks”



Effective Breaks – Real Life Samples

I found it interesting that in the EPMO of my current client the Project Managers all have a preferred effective way to take breaks. It was really amazing to see this, since we have only come together in the last 1 year and only 2 had worked together before. Here are some examples

  • Takes a nap every lunch break in your car –  make sure you set an alarm
  • Go to climb the stairs when the brain goes foggy
  • Take a 10min power nap in the car
  • Go and talk to a colleague – have a water cooler chat. Talk with the security guard or the cleaning Lady
  • My own personal Best: The office is located next to Nairobi National Park and being on 5th floor allows amazing views. I go to the lift lobby and look for which game is around. Yesterday there were giraffes that hanged around the whole day. We often get buffalo, Hardee’s Beast, Impala, and at times even Rhino.
  • I have a colleague who loves wildlife as much as I do and we call each other when we see something exiting. We call it a mini safari. Even the COO has his binoculars on his desk.

You need these short breaks and even the Kenyan Law allows for a tea break every morning and every afternoon.

During Lunch Break I regularly go for short walks, which also really refreshes your mind.

What to do on your days off

If you look around you will find the most effective people do great things during their days off. And hanging around bars is not part of this.

My all time favorite hobby is going out in nature! Every weekend I do something that takes me out into nature. Either I take a 3 hour walk with my group in Sigiria Forest.

Or I play golf, go for game drives if I find someone with a 4 wheel drive, or go for hikes, when my body allows.

Those who are not into sports can have simple garden parties or something where they spend time outside. Nature helps you relax.

It Is Ok to Rest

If you had planned a lot and then your brain switches off, or your physical body says no, please take a break. You deserve it! Once you have taken the break you will also feel that you are able to concentrate better and your output will be better.

For example I was going to write another chapter for my book today and start putting together a 1 day workshop that I have been working on. However in the morning my brain was foggy and I realized I need a break in nature first. So I went to Sigiria Forest. I know, you probably think, that way both the book and the workshop will not get done in good time. But think about this:

  • Is your self-set deadline realistic?
  • If you take an effective break you will have the energy to actually be more productive afterwards
  • Some of your best ideas will come while you are out in nature – yes this is true!


So learn to listen to your body and take effective breaks. It is ok!

What to do when your Life is falling apart

Sometimes we do find ourselves in situations where things are just falling apart outside of work and this definitely affects your work. Have you ever sat at your desk, struggling to hold back tears, your brain is on a re-play you do not seem to be able to stop? It has happened to me several times in my life. Let me share a few quick fixes and one or two long time fixes for such situations.

Quick Fixes

These are in no particular order I use them by gut feeling.

  • Take a walk, if possible in a forest
  • Do a good gym work out, where you push yourself to the limit
  • Meet your BFF to moan & groan. At this point you just want to feel better you are not ready for a solutions yet, so no need to dissect the situation.
  • Go treat yourself for a spa treatment, a meal or a nice cup of coffee.
  • Burry yourself in work – this actually works for the short time. It needs to be work that uses your full brain capacity. While you are working you will forget what is bugging you. But it is not a long time solution. You will burn out, if you do it over a longer period.
  • Meditate

I am sure you can come up with other solutions. The above are simply quick solutions to give your brain a break and give you some relief. Now you need to follow it up with a long term solution.

Long Term Solutions

Only if you find a solution that gives you peace and brings you back to your happy self will you be able to go back to normal life and perform at your best. This is part of work-life balance, anything that affects you in your private life, will affect your performance at work. Your mental health will also suffer with any unresolved conflict, issue and challenge.

You need to sit down and work on a proper solution. Rest in the knowledge that this will make you grow and you will come out stronger on the other side. Here are a few things I do, again in no particular order:

  • Get back to your BFF, now it is time to dissect the situation and get to the bottom of it
  • Do a brain dump, put all your thoughts and feelings on paper. Then try to put them in some order. Group those that belong together and think them through. Where are these thoughts and feelings around this come from? Why is it bugging you so much?
  • Do a SWAT analysis about the situation
  • If it is a relationship issue (this could be friendships as well, not just love relationships) then think it through. Is it time to fight to get things back to normal or is it time to pick up your pieces and move on? If you want to stay in the relationship, is it because you are used to it and it is comfortable? Is it because you feel you won’t find another friend like this? Are you really valued and appreciated in this relationship?
  • Find several possible solutions and think them through one-by-one. A cost benefit analysis can help here.
  • Look out for positive things in your life. What is currently going well? What are you achieving? Maybe it is time to get out the good old achievement box again. I have talked about it before. As I am writing about it, I am rushing to mine to do some updates.

The main point here is that you have to do something. You can not remain stuck in the hole you are in. You owe yourself to resurface from it rising like the phoenix from the ashes.


Whatever you chose to do, you need to get a way out and resolve whatever is affecting your work. By the end of the day you need to make a living and be at your best.

Always remember you are worth it! You are valuable! Yes, you deserve the best – Now don’t go thinking the Best is the most expensive 😉

You deserve a happy life both at work and at home and only you can take care of yourself!

Dealing with Election related Interruptions and Anxiety

Every time general elections come near Kenya’s business world goes into some kind of hiatus, which is caused by previous bad experiences. Businesses put any investment and even investment decisions on hold, projects are put on hold or the start is delayed, foreign investment is delayed and some companies actually stop shipping to Kenya until elections are complete and peace prevails. Employment decisions are delayed and contracts are not signed either. At the same time individuals are reminded of their experiences during dark parts of Kenyan election related history. It can be quite traumatic.

You can see that elections in Kenya have far reaching impact, even if nothing happens. Right now, a few days to the D Day rumors are flying around, embassies send out warnings to their citizens and people go into panic buying mode. Some even leave the country temporarily so as not to get caught in any potential violence.

No, I am not saying there is any need to panic or be in fear.

Right now it is actually amazingly quiet and peaceful.

Disturbing Facts

However the facts I mentioned above, do hamper business and stall progress in your contracts, projects, programs etc. It can also take its toll on mental health and ability to perform in individuals. Hence, during these times we need to be lenient, supportive and plan for the worst while praying for the best.

What to do?

Here are some common sense tips:

  1. Don’t panic! Nothing has happened and nothing may happen.
  2. Take a deep breath, analyze the situation and plan. Let’s remain level headed.
  3. Keep your ears on the ground and adjust your plans accordingly.
  4. Do stock up on groceries, especially those that do not perish quickly, but avoid panic buying. Nothing has happened yet and maybe nothing will.
  5. Fuel your car, if anything happens, then fuel may run out in the petrol stations quite quickly. My approach during election period is that I always refuel when fuel reaches half tank.
  6. Make emergency plans at your place of work. Create a phone daisy chain – so that everyone knows who will call them with updates and who they need to call. This is the fastest way to get information out. Have a list accessible to all with emergency contacts for every team member. I mean every team member, the cleaner and the askari are part of the wider team. One of my clients also has further plans, since they have to have their internet services up and running. So those who work in 24hr shifts, rearrange their duties, they go temporarily on 12hr shifts, to minimize movement of staff. There is even an arrangement with the hotel next door, so that these staff members can sleep there if need be. In addition to that there is a plan B, where mattresses and food are stored in the office building, for a worst case scenario.
  7. Continue work as normal, until anything untoward happens, or there is need for concern. At the same time keep your eyes and ears open and discuss and assess any unusual occurrences.

You see it is not that difficult

The Waiting Game

Election Day and the subsequent wait for results can be nerve wrecking. Again make sensible plans. You do not need to be glued to the TV, Nothing much will happen during the Voting Day.

I usually keep myself busy with normal things. I go to the forest, play a round of golf, if the course is open or spend time with friends visiting. We avoid talking about the elections and just enjoy the extra day off. Those who go to vote, go at their chosen time and live continues.

Even when first results come out, you do not need to stay glued to the TV or Social Media updates. This will only make you more anxious. Just continue with normal life and watch news occasionally. Actually stay away from Social Media, since there will be rumors’ flying around, opinions being voiced as if they are facts etc.

Then the next day continue to go to work, if it is save for you to get their. Discuss any concerns with the relevant person at your office. Be alert and move with caution.

You will pretty soon know if there is any reason for real concern.

Meanwhile if you feel your are getting anxious you can do any of the following:

  • Switch of the TV and the internet
  • Change the topic
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Go for a walk in a forest (if save to do so)
No need for Panic

You see it is that easy. Be alert, take precautions, prepare and then continue normal life. Don’t allow an election to disrupt your normal life too much. There is no need for panic.

Have you ever felt like you are stuck in your job?

I think most of us have had phases where we feel or felt like we are stuck. Nothing seems to be moving and we don’t seem to be able to get out of it. I have dealt with that several times in my life. Usually it goes along with a job situation, where you get no recognition, but extra work somehow finds it’s way to you.

DANGER!!! – This means you are in a toxic situation. And it it does not matter if it is just toxic for you or toxic for all.

You need Change

No, I am not saying you need to resign from your job. But you need to remove yourself from the situation for a few days and totally disconnect then think about it.

Take a few days of leave. I know, you are saying you can’t afford leave. Ok, let’s just think about this for a minute.

  1. When you fall by the side with burn-out, your company will easily replace you
  2. If you stay you will burn-out
  3. You are entitled to leave – read your contract!

So go ahead and book at least 1 week leave. For the sake of your physical and mental health. You need to disconnect and think. For that you need distance from the situation. So don’t wait too long 🙂

So have you applied for leave? Then let’s plan your leave

Steps you need to do:
  1. Do nothing to do with work for 2 days and try not to think about it. Do things you enjoy. Meet friends, go for walks. Go for forest walks. By the way, it is proven that you can think clearer when in the forest. Why do you think the forest is my Happy Place? It is the positive energy that comes from the trees and the peace and tranquility.
  2. Now it is time to analyze the situation. What is stressing you out? What part do you feel frustrated about? Where do you feel stuck? Put this in writing. Writing it down makes it real and you will be able to deal with it.
  3. Let’s analyze it further. Is this the general situation in the office? Is there one or more particular people who make you feel the way you feel?
  4. Do a SWOT analysis of yourself and another one about the company.
  5. Prepare a list of the things you enjoy about your work
  6. Write down your achievements in this particular position. What have you achieved? What are you proud of?

You are doing great and you are getting there!

Plan the way forward

Now that you have analyzed the situation you can start formulating your way forward. Think about the following things:

Plan – Part 1
  1. Is the situation salvageable? Then find a way out. I remember once I was in a situation where I felt stuck, I knew it was toxic, but I felt I could handle it. I also wanted to complete something I was working on. I needed that success for my self esteem. So I made a conscious decision to stay in the job and actually let a new job opportunity go.
  2. Do you need help? Decide if HR or a colleague or Senior Manager can help you. A person within the company, who understands the situation and can either advise or mentor you can really improve the situation.
  3. Do you need to work on yourself? We all do this every so often! Get a coach or a mentor. Yes, you may need to pay for this service, if you want professional service. But it is investment in yourself. I have had many different coaches & mentors in my life, who have walked with me part of the way.
  4. Is there a better place for you within the company? If so, then start moving into that direction.
Plan – Part 2
  1. Do you think it is time to move? Then start by defining what you want next and then consciously building towards that kind of job. Avoid the mistake many make, of applying for any open position. Look for something that moves you forward.
  2. If you think it is time to move into self-employment, then plan this meticulously as well. Resigning and simply calling yourself a Consultant does not do the trick. You need to get your name out. So start creating content in places like LinkedIn or Twitter, speak in your local professional organization, for example the PMI Chapter. Let people know what you know.
  3. Get Networking! Networking is so important. It can open new opportunities and you also get important connections. Just remember this is the long game. So don’t think just because you shook someone’s hand during a networking event, you will get a job. Networking is hard work. Dorie Clark in her book “The Long Game” recommends that during the first year of a new network connection you simply get to know the person. She gives very practical tips for effective networking. They may sound unusual, if you grew up in an African environment. But with some creativity, you can easily create African versions of her suggestions.
You are on your Way to Success!

If you follow all the steps mentioned above, you are well on your way to success! You will get yourself out of the mental situations you are in and your brain will be able to help you move on. Such situations are not a sign of failure, they are opportunities live puts in our way. Opportunities to grow, opportunities to change direction in life and opportunities to move your career upwards.

Here are other blogs I wrote earlier related to this topic:

Career Options for Project Managers

Developing as a Leader

Establishing yourself as a Professional

Get your name out there

Get a Coach

Learning to understand your Value



Networking – How it is done

The Long Game

Tough Situations Teach you Something

What to do when you feel you need a change in your career?

What to do when you feel you have no Influence

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance (earlier Blog)