My Microsoft LEAP Apprenticeship Program Journey — Lessons on Communication, Personal Brand Building and Business Ethics

Michelle Aniuchi
5 min readMar 7, 2020
Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

The LEAP program is one which aims to produce well rounded individuals able to become leaders in the field of technology not just improve their software development skills. It is for this reason that every two weeks, on a Friday, we meet up at the Microsoft office for soft skill training sessions which have been quite interesting and eye opening. In the last month, we have covered soft skills such as communication, brand building and being intentional about it as well as appropriate business ethics in the work place.

I’ll be dropping some of the insights I have picked from these sessions and I hope they’ll be of help to anyone who is reading.


Communicating appropriately and properly is a skill necessary for building healthy interpersonal relationships either in your personal life or in the workplace. It affects how you solve problems and a lack of it could lead to confusion.

One of the key points during this session that was reinforced in my mind was that what you say or your words make up only about 10% of communication. The other 90% is shared between your body language and your tone. So you could be saying one thing but your body language and/or tone could be giving off vibes of saying the exact opposite. At this point, you have created ambiguity and have given room to be misunderstood which could lead to confusion and a strain in the relationship.

Since communication involves both listening and speaking, you should be deliberate about listening by using appropriate body language to show you’re listening while using acknowledging responses and when it is your turn to speak you want to make sure your words are specific and objective in such a way that you’re able to convey the exact message you’re trying to pass across.

Never give people the room to fill in the gap for you because it leads to assumptions. — Yemi Orimolade.

The quote above was another key thing I noted during his session. This is important so that you’re not misunderstood. So state in clear terms and with complete phrases the message you want to pass across so that it leaves no room for ambiguity which in turn could lead to assumptions.

In summary, mind your body language and tone when communicating and do not leave rooms for assumptions about anything you have said.

Personal Brand and Building an Intentional Brand

These sessions with Eduabasi Essien and Tutu Abimbola focused on how to brand yourself as an individual in your career. A personal brand basically describes who you are, what you’re known for and what you stand for. Building a personal brand involves being self aware and once you’re self aware, you’ll be able to know your strengths and weakness. Because you know your strengths, you’re able to project yourself and put yourself out there to be seen which strengthens your personal brand. On the other hand, when you’re able to identify you weaknesses, you will be able to map out a course of action to rectify it. This is investing in your personal development. So if you’re bad at say, presentations, you would take it upon yourself to find courses or tutors to help you to work on that challenge.

A company gives you a career; a career is what you’re trying to build while doing it. — Tutu Abimbola

You have to be intentional about your career to build a personal brand and this involves remembering the quoted statement above. It is therefore paramount that you’re intentional about what you want to be and are actively working towards it.

Also the role of mentorship cannot be overemphasized. This should not only be restricted to your role or your field because even when they are not in your field the can serve as accountability partners — people you are accountable to about your goals so that you can accomplish them.

How do you deal with impostor syndrome when you’re trying to put yoourself out there and build your brand? Remember that for you to be in that room, there is something you’re bringing to the table. So instead of being fidgety and wondering why you’re in the midst of people you feel you’re not as good enough as, your mind should start actively working to see how you can contribute meaningfully to the team.

In summary, to be successful at branding these 3 key things are needed:

  1. Self awareness — know who you are, what you’re capable of and what you stand for
  2. Reputation — Determine what you will be known for as this has a great impact on how you’re viewed as you build your personal brand
  3. Vision — Have a clear destination in mind, work hard to invest in your personal development as you go through the journey and have people that you’re accountable to as you proceed on that journey.

Business Ethics in The Workplace

In this session, Seun Babajide Duroshola took out time to explain some of the foundation principles to having good business ethics. Business ethics is basically what guides the conduct of individuals in an organization. Your interaction with work, your coworkers, you dispensation to dispensing you duties and the general manner in which you present yourself at your workplace.

Generally the following are some of the principles that should guide your conduct in the workplace:

  1. Trust — You should strive to be someone that can be trusted to deliver on whatever assignments
  2. Honesty — You want to be honest in your dealings with both your colleagues and customers (if you’re interfacing with them)
  3. Integrity — You should always try to keep to your word.
  4. Accountability — Report assignments and tasks as at when due. Be someone who is accountable for their actions
  5. Professionalism — maintain a high level of professionalism at all times.
  6. Respect — You want to show respect for everyone in the organization and not being abusive towards any colleague.
  7. Character — You should be mindful of the manner in which you behave, speak, your body language and how you present your points in the work place.

Acknowledge your teams efforts but make sure you don’t shortchange yourself if you’re the one who came up with the idea. — Seun Babajide Duroshola

While we want to avoid bad business ethics such as failing to honor commitments or taking sole credit for a team effort, we also want to keep in mind the above quote.

In summary, when everyone applies these principles to guide their conduct in the work place, a better work environment is achieved in which each team member is able to flourish at doing their jobs.

Developing these soft skills is a gradual process and like it was said, no one is truly done with personal branding. So going forward, I am looking forward to applying these things in order to build a successful career. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Till next time!