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28 "Hard-Won" Strategies To Help Your Team To Really Thrive

You want your team to thrive, right? Then check these out...

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So you started a business, or you got promoted to manager. Or you have dreams of being the CEO one day. What can you do to help your team thrive? Or what do you wish your boss started to implement to improve the culture.

I reached out to 28 prominent female leaders for them to share their best advise from their experience about how to help their team to thrive.

Here are the answers they shared.

Give direct, honest feedback

Give direct, honest feedback, even if it feels uncomfortable. It’s the quickest route to success not only for your company, but for the individual as well. Two helpful resources on that topic are Kim Scott’s Radical Candor and Adam Grant’s WorkLife podcast on a hedge fund that embraces negative feedback. - Alexis Grant, Executive Vice President of Content for The Penny Hoarder

Give direct, honest feedback, even if it feels uncomfortable. It’s the quickest route to success not only for your company, but for the individual as well. Two helpful resources on that topic are Kim Scott’s Radical Candor and Adam Grant’s WorkLife podcast on a hedge fund that embraces negative feedback. - Alexis Grant, Executive Vice President of Content for The Penny Hoarder

Opportunity to invest in people

By looking at your leadership role as an opportunity to invest in people, you go beyond being a leader and become a mentor. I learned this while working with some of the best and brightest minds on Wall Street, and it is a guiding principle that helps in my work with entrepreneurs. - Eva Yazhari, CEO of Beyond Capital

By looking at your leadership role as an opportunity to invest in people, you go beyond being a leader and become a mentor. I learned this while working with some of the best and brightest minds on Wall Street, and it is a guiding principle that helps in my work with entrepreneurs. - Eva Yazhari, CEO of Beyond Capital

Never give up

DON’T GIVE UP! You are required to work 10 times harder as a woman, which I pray will actually change one day. I am hopeful that we will have true equality in the workplace in time for my 3 year old daughter to enter the work force, but in the meantime my best advice is to never give up on your dream. If you can see it, it will come true. - Christine Currence, CEO of Badgley Mischka

People are going to judge you on first impressions, long before you say your first words

"We all have moments when we feel unequal to the challenges of life. I’ve had plenty of tests that threatened to engulf my very existence if I had allowed it.They didn’t stand a chance against my will to survive and thrive.I have always met the world on equal terms if not more.From a young age, my father taught me the value of hard work and what was required to achieve success. As a teenager, I always had a job during the summer and after school to ensure my independence. I never felt like I was slugging it out in a mans world. For me, I never focused on the fact that I was a woman. I never looked at the real estate business as either male or female, though most CEO’s in our industry are men. Instead, I focused on being the best I could be — the best leader, the best mentor and best example of what a woman rising to the top exemplifies. Being a woman had nothing to do with how I conducted myself. Sure, I love getting dressed up: picking out something glamorous to wear to a meeting, donning beautiful jewelry, having my hair and make-up done and adding just a spritz of my favorite perfume before heading out to a business event in Manhattan or a fundraiser in the Hamptons. And no matter what I am wearing, nothing makes me feel sexier, younger or more attractive than knowing I’m truly happy on the inside and then showing my confidence to the world. When the inside matches the outside, it’s an unstoppable combination. It’s a Wonder Woman moment, where we get to go from our everyday selves to a more powerful, potent, sexier version. A woman doesn’t have to stop being feminine to be powerful or make it in a man’s world. When I started selling real estate, my first boss told me, “I don’t care if you don’t have any money. Buy yourself three nice blazers. People are going to judge you on first impressions, long before you say your first words. Your appearance matters Dottie.” I never forgot that advice. I adhered to it then as much then as I do now. I have gone out of my way to look the best I can, even when I didn’t have the resources that I do today. How a woman pulls herself together, the way she holds her head up, how she walks with confidence and poise will always make a statement.As my career bloomed, my focus was never being the best woman in the room so much as being dedicated and determined to be the best in the business." - Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman

"We all have moments when we feel unequal to the challenges of life. I’ve had plenty of tests that threatened to engulf my very existence if I had allowed it.

They didn’t stand a chance against my will to survive and thrive.

I have always met the world on equal terms if not more.

From a young age, my father taught me the value of hard work and what was required to achieve success. As a teenager, I always had a job during the summer and after school to ensure my independence. I never felt like I was slugging it out in a mans world. For me, I never focused on the fact that I was a woman. I never looked at the real estate business as either male or female, though most CEO’s in our industry are men. Instead, I focused on being the best I could be — the best leader, the best mentor and best example of what a woman rising to the top exemplifies. Being a woman had nothing to do with how I conducted myself. Sure, I love getting dressed up: picking out something glamorous to wear to a meeting, donning beautiful jewelry, having my hair and make-up done and adding just a spritz of my favorite perfume before heading out to a business event in Manhattan or a fundraiser in the Hamptons. And no matter what I am wearing, nothing makes me feel sexier, younger or more attractive than knowing I’m truly happy on the inside and then showing my confidence to the world. When the inside matches the outside, it’s an unstoppable combination. It’s a Wonder Woman moment, where we get to go from our everyday selves to a more powerful, potent, sexier version. A woman doesn’t have to stop being feminine to be powerful or make it in a man’s world. When I started selling real estate, my first boss told me, “I don’t care if you don’t have any money. Buy yourself three nice blazers. People are going to judge you on first impressions, long before you say your first words. Your appearance matters Dottie.” I never forgot that advice. I adhered to it then as much then as I do now. I have gone out of my way to look the best I can, even when I didn’t have the resources that I do today. How a woman pulls herself together, the way she holds her head up, how she walks with confidence and poise will always make a statement.

As my career bloomed, my focus was never being the best woman in the room so much as being dedicated and determined to be the best in the business." - Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman

Do you know what you don’t know?

"Helping people to thrive and succeed isn’t about your gender or the gender of the people on your team. What I will say is this: always ask yourself, do you know what you don’t know?

Here’s why that question is so important to helping a team thrive. Once you demonstrate that it’s okay for you not to have all the answers, you set a tone for the whole group. Each individual doesn’t feel that they need to have all the answers, and it’s safe for them to admit what they don’t know. I guarantee that your team will take a more inquisitive approach, and start asking better questions, and that inquisitive approach will set your team up to find better solutions.

You need to set a tone of psychological safety in order to brainstorm effectively. It takes a certain amount of confidence to take a risk and to be honest and open with your team, but you’ll set up your team for a more open dialogue, and better results." - Dana Hamerschlag, CPO at Miller Heiman Group

Manage, but don’t micromanage

Manage, but don’t micromanage. Build a strong team that you trust; give them clear guidance and establish goalposts on the direction you want for the team. Have your team members report to you regularly, but give them the space to operate and grow on their own. - Rashida La Lande, SVP at The Kraft Heinz Company
Via goo.gl

Manage, but don’t micromanage. Build a strong team that you trust; give them clear guidance and establish goalposts on the direction you want for the team. Have your team members report to you regularly, but give them the space to operate and grow on their own. - Rashida La Lande, SVP at The Kraft Heinz Company

Be the CEOs of their own careers

We encourage our team members to be the CEOs of their own careers. It’s a sentiment that I hope inspires my team to know no bounds when it comes to their career progression. My advice would be to inspire your team, not limit in their abilities based on their respective position in the business. - Sheryl Palmer the CEO of Taylor Morrison

We encourage our team members to be the CEOs of their own careers. It’s a sentiment that I hope inspires my team to know no bounds when it comes to their career progression. My advice would be to inspire your team, not limit in their abilities based on their respective position in the business. - Sheryl Palmer the CEO of Taylor Morrison

Happy people will deliver great work

"· Recognize that Employees Have Lives Outside of Work.Happy people will deliver great work. Enable your employees to have a personal life.· Flexibility.Each employee may crave different types of flexibility. Talk to your team members to understand what ideal flexibility means to them.· Childcare.Be supportive in helping your team members find access to childcare that works for them.· Assumptions about employee ambition.Don’t make assumptions based on your own personal biases.· Career Pace Will Ebb and Flow.Not all team members will work at the same intensity throughout their career, and that’s ok.· Transparency.Transparency can foster trust and gives people the psychological freedom they crave to perform to their highest, most creative and innovative potential." - Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, SVP at Allergan

"· Recognize that Employees Have Lives Outside of Work.

Happy people will deliver great work. Enable your employees to have a personal life.

· Flexibility.

Each employee may crave different types of flexibility. Talk to your team members to understand what ideal flexibility means to them.

· Childcare.

Be supportive in helping your team members find access to childcare that works for them.

· Assumptions about employee ambition.

Don’t make assumptions based on your own personal biases.

· Career Pace Will Ebb and Flow.

Not all team members will work at the same intensity throughout their career, and that’s ok.

· Transparency.

Transparency can foster trust and gives people the psychological freedom they crave to perform to their highest, most creative and innovative potential." - Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, SVP at Allergan

Be comfortable in your skin and don’t let anyone else define you

"Be comfortable in your skin and don’t let anyone else define you. While we continue to nurture and sponsor Woman in Technology programs, we also should take it beyond the “woman in tech” label, having our programs and gatherings focusing on advancing technology, business and careers by leveraging the power of our network and community.

The most empowering moments and relationships in my career have not been designed for me specifically as a woman — they have been tailored to help me grow. I am more than just one thing — more than just a woman or a minority. I am a technology and a business leader, and other women should look at themselves the same way." - Haiyan Song SVP at Splunk

Be prepared

"If I could give a few pieces of advice to other female leaders is to be prepared. I think being prepared is a huge key to success. It allows you to put your best foot forward and show up ready to impress.I would also tell female leaders to make sure that they take care of their wellbeing because you cannot be a good leader if you are not healthy. I make fitness/wellness a huge part of my life for that reason." - Rhonda Vetere
Via goo.gl

"If I could give a few pieces of advice to other female leaders is to be prepared. I think being prepared is a huge key to success. It allows you to put your best foot forward and show up ready to impress.

I would also tell female leaders to make sure that they take care of their wellbeing because you cannot be a good leader if you are not healthy. I make fitness/wellness a huge part of my life for that reason." - Rhonda Vetere

Experience the world

I think it’s really important to inspire and educate your teams by getting out of the office and experience the world. So often we are so busy that we stay locked behind our desks and use the internet as our portal to understanding our clients and categories. But it’s not the same as talking to real people and observing market behavior first hand. So for example, if I am working on a new retail project, I take the team to the food court at the mall for the internal kick off. If we’re working on a dog food account, we’ll go to the local dog park for a few hours before putting together a project plan. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or expensive. If you want to talk about a strong brand plan, go to a local Starbucks with your team and observe how they create a unique experience with a TWIST. The price of a few cups of coffee is priceless in terms of learning and motivation. - Julie Cottineau, Founder & CEO of BrandTwist

I think it’s really important to inspire and educate your teams by getting out of the office and experience the world. So often we are so busy that we stay locked behind our desks and use the internet as our portal to understanding our clients and categories. But it’s not the same as talking to real people and observing market behavior first hand. So for example, if I am working on a new retail project, I take the team to the food court at the mall for the internal kick off. If we’re working on a dog food account, we’ll go to the local dog park for a few hours before putting together a project plan. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or expensive. If you want to talk about a strong brand plan, go to a local Starbucks with your team and observe how they create a unique experience with a TWIST. The price of a few cups of coffee is priceless in terms of learning and motivation. - Julie Cottineau, Founder & CEO of BrandTwist

Don’t apologize for your opinion.

Don’t apologize for your opinion. In a world primarily dominated by men, proudly represent the woman in the room. Be yourself. Have your own opinion and do not apologize or play it down. Do not try to emulate your male peers. Favoritism happens regularly in the corporate world. More men are in higher positions and they tend to promote other men that act like them. Don’t fall into that trap. Be promoted by your own convictions. You cannot change people’s opinions about your sex but, you can make the right business decisions daily and that will get you noticed. I don’t come into work thinking I will prove myself because I am a woman. I come to work knowing I will prove myself regardless of anyone’s perception of women. I speak my mind in all meetings. I do not leave things unsaid simply to not disagree with the majority. I come to work with one mission- doing the best for the company I represent. - Hosana Fieber, CFO of Tervis Tumbler

Be positive, be confident and be honest

Your team will follow your lead, so be positive, be confident and be honest. Many people don’t share their opinions or expertise because they don’t want to “stir the pot.” Encourage your team members to be confident in their abilities and talents, and they’ll be engaged and eager to do their best work. - Jess Liberi, of eMoney Advisor

Your team will follow your lead, so be positive, be confident and be honest. Many people don’t share their opinions or expertise because they don’t want to “stir the pot.” Encourage your team members to be confident in their abilities and talents, and they’ll be engaged and eager to do their best work. - Jess Liberi, of eMoney Advisor

Understand their personality types

Get to know your team members and understand their personality types. It’s amazing how much stronger and empowered your people can be when their strengths are known and are leveraged daily in their roles. One of my favorite personality typing frameworks is Myers-Briggs. While it certainly doesn’t cover everything about a person, you sure do learn a lot about yourself, where you get your energy from, how you think, process information, and make decisions. This knowledge about yourself and others is endlessly helpful in understanding the right ways to encourage each other to really thrive. - Stephanie Ciccarelli of Voices.com

Get to know your team members and understand their personality types. It’s amazing how much stronger and empowered your people can be when their strengths are known and are leveraged daily in their roles. One of my favorite personality typing frameworks is Myers-Briggs. While it certainly doesn’t cover everything about a person, you sure do learn a lot about yourself, where you get your energy from, how you think, process information, and make decisions. This knowledge about yourself and others is endlessly helpful in understanding the right ways to encourage each other to really thrive. - Stephanie Ciccarelli of Voices.com

Be comfortable with the uncomfortable

I would tell any leader to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. When I have been uncomfortable with a new project or initiative but have jumped in and started to work, I can almost always look back and say that I grew personally and professionally. It can be hard to see a distant horizon, but smart, hard work and your team help you cover the distance. - Melissa Moschetti, VP of XACTV

I would tell any leader to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. When I have been uncomfortable with a new project or initiative but have jumped in and started to work, I can almost always look back and say that I grew personally and professionally. It can be hard to see a distant horizon, but smart, hard work and your team help you cover the distance. - Melissa Moschetti, VP of XACTV

Making an effort to be present is incredibly important.

As our team has grown to nearly 40 people, I’ve learned that making an effort to be present is incredibly important. Sometimes it can be as simple as giving your undivided attention to a Slack conversation for five minutes, but it might also mean blocking off one hour to grab a coffee. By giving people adequate facetime, you’re able to make genuine connections with your team and foster open communication, both of which make for a more enjoyable and productive environment. - Natalie Gray, Co-founder at Cover

Strike the word “just” from the work vocabulary.

"I would say “Take the J count, down!” I read an article by a former Google and Apple marketing executive, Ellen Petry Leanse, who encouraged the women on her team to strike the word “just” from their work vocabulary. She viewed it as a “permission” or a way to soften the blow. I shared the idea with my team and they each said that their messages felt stronger and their convictions clearer by striking the J word from their vocabulary. Try it. I think you’ll notice the difference." - With Courtney Chalmers VP at Boats Group

"I would say “Take the J count, down!” I read an article by a former Google and Apple marketing executive, Ellen Petry Leanse, who encouraged the women on her team to strike the word “just” from their work vocabulary. She viewed it as a “permission” or a way to soften the blow. I shared the idea with my team and they each said that their messages felt stronger and their convictions clearer by striking the J word from their vocabulary. Try it. I think you’ll notice the difference." - With Courtney Chalmers VP at Boats Group

Maintain a consistently high bar, and develop a reputation for having one

Maintain a consistently high bar, and develop a reputation for having one. You will attract the best and the brightest, the people most eager to prove their talent, and you’ll ensure that everyone on your team feels a personal desire to meet those standards. Any of us who have worked in large organizations can remember that one leader, that one person to whom you never wanted to present unless you were presenting your absolute finest work. That person was in that position because she/he maintained only the highest of standards, both from her/himself or others. I think female leaders in particular need to strive to be that person. - Aimee Lessard, of Signafire Technologies
Via goo.gl

Maintain a consistently high bar, and develop a reputation for having one. You will attract the best and the brightest, the people most eager to prove their talent, and you’ll ensure that everyone on your team feels a personal desire to meet those standards. Any of us who have worked in large organizations can remember that one leader, that one person to whom you never wanted to present unless you were presenting your absolute finest work. That person was in that position because she/he maintained only the highest of standards, both from her/himself or others. I think female leaders in particular need to strive to be that person. - Aimee Lessard, of Signafire Technologies

The best leadership is to lead by example

I’ve learned that the best leadership is to lead by example. I also read a ton of management books, constantly seek and give feedback, and get to know my people. This helps me reflect and evaluate what I’m doing. - Jolijt Tamanaha. Jolijt is the Director of Marketing and employee #1 at Fresh Prints

I’ve learned that the best leadership is to lead by example. I also read a ton of management books, constantly seek and give feedback, and get to know my people. This helps me reflect and evaluate what I’m doing. - Jolijt Tamanaha. Jolijt is the Director of Marketing and employee #1 at Fresh Prints

People are naturally drawn to self-confidence (PART 1)

As a female leader, I always think that confidence is the root of beauty. Every woman is unique and uniquely beautiful because they all have a different life experience. I network with other female leaders in different industries actively and have never stopped feeling amazed to see how different women shine their beauty in life and in their professional fields. We still see many women living under gender stereotypes. I think one’s true self is the most vibrant, and I believe that more women will devote much of their time in the business world. I see myself as an active member of the business world, and will support more women to remain confident of their life choices.” - Danni Lin, CEO of Great Wine

As a female leader, I always think that confidence is the root of beauty. Every woman is unique and uniquely beautiful because they all have a different life experience. I network with other female leaders in different industries actively and have never stopped feeling amazed to see how different women shine their beauty in life and in their professional fields. We still see many women living under gender stereotypes. I think one’s true self is the most vibrant, and I believe that more women will devote much of their time in the business world. I see myself as an active member of the business world, and will support more women to remain confident of their life choices.” - Danni Lin, CEO of Great Wine

People are naturally drawn to self-confidence (PART 2)

People are naturally drawn to self-confidence, and the best advice I can give to other female leaders is that you need to have the confidence to make difficult decisions and to stick by those decisions. Your confidence inspires your team members and your ability to make tough calls when needed gives your team the support they need to do the best job possible. - Jean Gabriel Founder of Buying.com

People are naturally drawn to self-confidence, and the best advice I can give to other female leaders is that you need to have the confidence to make difficult decisions and to stick by those decisions. Your confidence inspires your team members and your ability to make tough calls when needed gives your team the support they need to do the best job possible. - Jean Gabriel Founder of Buying.com

Don’t listen to the naysayers

While women can be especially great listeners, don’t listen to the naysayers. Have the courage and confidence to receive input and not be discouraged - Wendy Burk, CEO of Cadence Travel

Work hard, be smart, and above all, suck it up

As I tell my favorite mentee, my daughter: work hard, be smart, and above all, suck it up. Leading and building a company is very, very hard and not for the faint of heart. - Lisa Marino, CEO of RockYou Media

As I tell my favorite mentee, my daughter: work hard, be smart, and above all, suck it up. Leading and building a company is very, very hard and not for the faint of heart. - Lisa Marino, CEO of RockYou Media

Clear vision

"One of the most important keys to developing a successful team is having a clear vision. Vision is key to action: You have to see, literally and metaphorically, what you’re trying to achieve. Is there a concrete goal you want your team to achieve? What are the stepping stones along the way and, in the end, what will success look like? These are questions that both you and your team should know the answers to.Vision also motivates action, so integrating your vision into your routine is critical. When leaders pay closer attention to how they’re using vision, it can significantly improve their road to execution. And in the end, execution is what matters. By focusing on results, the success of your team will speak for itself." - Kim Perell, CEO of Amobee

"One of the most important keys to developing a successful team is having a clear vision. Vision is key to action: You have to see, literally and metaphorically, what you’re trying to achieve. Is there a concrete goal you want your team to achieve? What are the stepping stones along the way and, in the end, what will success look like? These are questions that both you and your team should know the answers to.

Vision also motivates action, so integrating your vision into your routine is critical. When leaders pay closer attention to how they’re using vision, it can significantly improve their road to execution. And in the end, execution is what matters. By focusing on results, the success of your team will speak for itself." - Kim Perell, CEO of Amobee

Be strong, never back down, and never cry

Be strong, never back down, and never cry. Remember it’s still not easy, and women still have to work harder, but women who get to leader roles, also need to help other women, not try to just hang out with the men - Kimberly P. Stein, shareholder of the firm, Holley Driggs Walch

You can’t exclude your own needs

Put yourself into the equation. You have to do what is right for the business, but you can’t exclude your own needs or you will burn out and not be useful to your team. - Sarah Watson, Global Chairman of BBH

Put yourself into the equation. You have to do what is right for the business, but you can’t exclude your own needs or you will burn out and not be useful to your team. - Sarah Watson, Global Chairman of BBH

Embrace the concept of successful failure.

Embrace the concept of successful failure. We have a saying in our company that nothing in computer science ever works the first time, sometimes not the 10th time, and sometimes not the 25th time! But being able to learn from each failure is a gift. Startups make hundreds of decisions a day. The ability to create an environment of fail-fast, learn-quick has been a critical factor to our success. - Christine McDonnell, CEO of Codelicoius

Embrace the concept of successful failure. We have a saying in our company that nothing in computer science ever works the first time, sometimes not the 10th time, and sometimes not the 25th time! But being able to learn from each failure is a gift. Startups make hundreds of decisions a day. The ability to create an environment of fail-fast, learn-quick has been a critical factor to our success. - Christine McDonnell, CEO of Codelicoius

Manage each person accordingly

One size doesn’t fit all in leadership. Get to understand what motivates individuals and manage each person accordingly. Give other women opportunities to shine and share credit. Be a caring and patient mentor. - Nancy A. Shenker, Founder/CEO of theONswitch Marketing

One size doesn’t fit all in leadership. Get to understand what motivates individuals and manage each person accordingly. Give other women opportunities to shine and share credit. Be a caring and patient mentor. - Nancy A. Shenker, Founder/CEO of theONswitch Marketing

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