6 Management Lessons From Visionary Female Leaders
It’s been a good year for women in leadership positions. From Marissa Meyer taking over as CEO at Yahoo, and Mary Barra taking over as head honcho at GM, it seems that women in leadership positions lead some of the most successful company revivals this year. Here we take a look via Fast Company of some of these leaders, and snippets of their best advice.
Marry Barra – GM
“I have had many experiences that helped me grow and take with me a fundamental understanding of the industry and our challenges. I attacked each new position like I was going to do it for the rest of my life. If you don’t address problems head on, they don’t go away–they get bigger. Get the right people together, address the challenges, and keep moving forward. Every time I approach a new business opportunity, or a new activity, or a new role, I approach it as an engineer, as a professional, as a leader. My gender doesn’t really come into it.”
Angela Ahrendts – Apple
“When we sat down and said, “How have we created this energy? How do we keep 11,000 people so connected, so united?” And 90% of it is trust. There is an innate trust that I don’t second-guess anything [creative director Christopher Bailey][/creative] does, never have. And on business, he doesn’t second-guess anything I do.
We’ve never been finance first. We’ve always been instincts first. My dad used to always say he can teach you anything but he couldn’t teach you to feel. And so that’s the hardest part when you have 11,000 people: How do you teach them to feel like we feel?
I don’t want to be sold to when I walk into a store. I want to be welcomed. The job is to be a brilliant brand ambassador. Everybody is welcome. Don’t be judgmental whatsoever. Look them in the eyes. Welcome them. ‘How are you?’ Don’t sell! NO! Because that is a turnoff. What we have wanted to do is build an amazing brand experience and an amazing way that people can engage with the brand. Then it will naturally happen. And then I don’t care where they buy. I only care that they buy the brand.”
Marissa Meyer – Yahoo
“I have said it would take multiple years…for the growth to be the way we wanted it to be. Having the right people and products and getting to the right traffic. People, products, traffic and revenue.”
Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook
“We sit next to each other, we Facebook message each other a lot. We give each other feedback every Friday. Remember that when I took the job, I was going to work for a 23-year-old with a $15 billion valuation.”
Jenna Lyons – J. Crew
“When something hasn’t been as beautiful as it can be, the reason is always bigger than the thing. At this stage, I’m like a glorified crossing guard. It’s like, try to keep people motivated, keep the traffic moving, keep people from getting stumped or stopped by a problem.
When someone creates something and puts it in front of you, that thing came from inside of them, and if you make them feel bad, it’s going to be hard to fix, because you’ve actually crushed them.
Managing creative people–not so easy. A lot of emotion, a lot of stroking. Some people need tough love. Some people need a lot of love.”