This story originally appeared on Dell Technologies
For some people, leadership comes naturally. For others, it’s a skill—or a set of skills—that need to be honed and constantly improved.
Whether you’re a born leader or always learning, leadership is the backbone of any successful business. It starts from the top, whether you’re the owner or CEO, and trickles down to managers and individuals who oversee products and projects.
Great leadership can set a winning tone and strategy. Poor leadership can steer an entire team toward failure.
No one knows that better than the women business leaders who make up the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN). These female founders and executives form a collective brain trust of incredible business smarts that allow them to scale their businesses and find success.
Here, we’ve spoken to four prominent members of DWEN to uncover their best leadership tips gleaned from years of hands-on experience starting and growing unique businesses.
Understand your strengths, hire based on your weaknesses.
Founder and CEO, The Mentor Method
Launched in 2017 and based in Austin, Texas, The Mentor Method helps companies retain and develop employees using the power of mentorship.
“Practice self-awareness to understand your strengths, how those can be leveraged to grow your business, and find team members with strengths in areas equally as important to developing the business that will be energized by their roles.
For example, if you enjoy sales and do not enjoy operations, hiring a team member that enjoys managing areas of operations saves you time, energy, and you’re able to use their strengths to solve critical issues within your business. Practicing self-awareness as a leader empowers your team to do the same and leaves space for candid conversations about gaps to determine your next set of key hires and opportunities to expand skill sets.”
Define your culture through core values.
Owner and CEO, Asutra
Chicago-based Asutra was founded in 2015. Its mission is active self-care, offering natural remedies for pain, sleep and rejuvenation. Asutra’s products are PETA-certified cruelty-free and the company is women-owned and women-led.
“Having a strong, positive culture helps you hire the right people who will fit your company and team; yield better performance because people trust each other and know what matters; and ensure you’re treating each other—and your customers—the way you want to.
For example, one of our core values at Asutra is ‘One Team, One Goal.’ We all pitch in when there’s a big project. We just launched Asutra pain relief and sleep aids in Target stores nationwide, and everyone from our marketing manager to me was helping to pack and prepare the products to ship out to stores. We have each other’s backs. When our employees who are moms have to supervise their kids’ remote learning at home, other people step up to get the job done.”
Lead with empathy.
Founder and CEO, wiseHer
Based in Framingham, Mass., wiseHer was founded in 2018 and is a global expert marketplace providing businesses and professionals with affordable access to been-there-done-that experts for 1:1 advice to help accelerate their business or career growth.
“I had to learn this the hard way! I always expected other people to do things the way I would do them or to even read my mind. When you take a step back and realize that not everyone knows what you’re thinking and embrace the knowledge that there is a human in that role—with hopes, dreams and outside challenges of their own—you begin to interact, guide, and lead differently. Yes, profits are important but not at the expense of customer and employee growth.
I am much more careful about my interactions, I explain more, I take the time to learn about my customers’ and employees’ goals and how we can play a part in achieving those along with them. Because of this change we have little turnover in employees and contractors and our expert network, partnerships and customer base is experiencing rapid growth.”
Always give recognition to those who make your success possible.
A vegan skincare line with “sophisticated scents,” Redoux was launched in 2019 and is based in Philadelphia.
“I was told by my personal mentors that a leader’s success is marked by the strength and cohesion of their team. I have my clear vision for Redoux in my mind, but it’s the people who support me that really bring it to life. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them, and they deserve to know that.
The smallest and most consistent way to practice this daily is by saying thank you for the work your team has contributed. There are a number of ways we practice this at Redoux, including sending handwritten thank you cards to all of our business partners, celebrating team member’s great work on a designated Slack channel, and proactively learning each other’s preferred communication style.”