We’re delighted this month to have some learnings from an inspirational leader in our network. Jennifer Young is the founder and driving force behind “Beauty Despite Cancer”, combining her scientific background with her passion for natural skincare and wellbeing to create a unique line of products aimed at anyone with, or recovering from cancer. As you’ll see below Jennifer epitomises a REAL leader, totally authentic and always empathetic, proving that leadership is NOT only about what you do or say, it’s much more about how you make people feel…
Learning from leadership
I am often asked to write about me or my business, but this is a first, never before have I been asked to write about being a leader.
Cue head scratching and reflection. I hadn’t identified as a leader of people, a thought leader, yes, people, not so much.
So, my first tip, listening. Being asked to write this is an example of others seeing in me something which I hadn’t noticed about myself – I listened and thought and I now see something that, to me, was previously hidden.
I often use the word ‘listen’ where others would say ‘chat’.
‘If I am speaking, I am not learning’ (followed in my head) by ‘if I am speaking, someone else is learning’ is one of my most used mantras. It helps me to appreciate the value my words and experience have to others, but, more importantly, reminds me to listen and listen hard.
Integrity is key to everything we do. We are honest about our limitations and boundaries as well as our strengths – the entire culture of the organisation is based in this determination to trade with a conscience.
I am honest with clients, the team and suppliers. This openness can be difficult for others. I don’t always receive the same degree of integrity but that doesn’t stop me expecting it.
Looking after people has had a bad press – ‘‘health and safety’ is often an excuse. I see it more as providing a legislative structure to allow me to look after my team.
Never has the world needed an understanding of risk assessment more than in the last couple of years.
The foundations of good practice, in place because I value my team, helped us to grow exponentially during a global pandemic. H&S is always top of the agenda at board meetings. We include ‘constant vigilance’ at the daily meetings.
It is more than H&S, that is merely the language I can use to provide a reference point for an organisational culture that has the well-being of people at its core.
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