Emma Glass of Luxe Leadership On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain & Turbulent Times
Communicate, always and all ways. Sometimes I feel as if I am over-communicating, but that’s not true. Talking openly about what is going on inside the business, in the climate outside of the business and how it is being affected will give your team a little slice of being in the know and being valued. I have never gotten the feedback that I share too much.
As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Emma Glass.
Emma Glass is the founder & head speaker at Luxe Leadership, who has coached 150+ female founders & female entrepreneurs on leadership, emotional intelligence, and mindset. She is also the host of the Luxe Leaders Podcast. Before starting her own company, Emma recruited & trained a team of 60+ for her lululemon store openings, taught yoga and barre to hundreds of people, and grew her Monat team to 500+ in her down line!
“I believe every female founder can balance her life and reproduce the success of male CEOs without trying to be one. Women in leadership can be successful while also embracing their femininity.” — Emma Glass
Emma is currently living her best life as she travels the US with her husband & two kids on the quest to find their next home! You can find her soaking up the sun on the beach with her husband, enjoying peace & quiet (whenever life gives it), showing her kids all the fun adventures in the world and anywhere music is playing — you will see her dancing!
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Traditional or conventional have never been in my vocabulary. From an early age I was dreaming big and questioning the norm. In Kindergarten, I was the only one to walk around the graduation bridge and it continued when I changed my major to Engineering only to graduate with a Fashion degree. I grew up in a wildly successful family business, so the very traditional definition of success was nailed in early on. Once I pulled the thread of changing that definition, all of my beliefs around business and leadership started to unravel. It came to a head when I attended the Lululemon managers conference where I saw firsthand more women than men in leadership positions. I witnessed fully-expressed, confident women from all walks of life. I have experienced both sides of leadership — the extreme masculine and the extreme feminine. I stand that there is room for both to have their place in order to thrive.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Hindsight is everything! When I first started, I still believe to this day that I talked someone out of working with me on a sales call, even though before the call she was close to ready! To be honest, I am still not a stunner at sales calls but here are three lessons I took away from it. 1. To talk way less 2. Set the tone and stage for the call- what to expect. 3. Follow-up, even if you had a shit call, you never know what the other person is thinking.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? It is going to sound epically cliche, but my mom. She has always been my biggest cheerleader even when I have another big idea or pivot. When I was in college, I went through times where I toyed with the idea of being a lawyer and politician. Instead of picking one, she set up an internship at a law office and sent me to Washington D.C. to test both careers out. Needless to say, the trials proved those were two careers I did not want to pursue. I’ll be forever grateful to her.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose-driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your organization started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
When I first started my business, my purpose was to help people find confidence to be fully self-expressed. It is very similar but also only a small piece to what Luxe Leadership is today. To be honest, when I first started, I was playing small and thinking small. As time went on, the purpose and vision has expanded bigger and bigger.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?
When leading a team, your team is looking to you for assurance and communication no matter what the climate is. Difficult times can bring on stress for any leader, but what I have found is that it starts with me. I remember our first black Friday at the outlets, all the stores open at midnight and close late the next night. Scheduling for those shifts were a nightmare and I know we could have dreaded the long day, but we chose another way. The hours were uncontrollable and the late nights and early morning are insane for anyone to ‘be on’, so I choose to make it as fun as possible. It started with me and my attitude. We brought in spin bikes to set up in the middle of the store and held mini spin sessions every hour. We chose a fun color to wear and we even rented a hotel room next door for our employees to crash at between their shorter shifts. Overcommunicating what is going on and how it may be affecting our team along with keeping calm sets us up to come together during the hard times.
Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive? All the time! It is challenging being an entrepreneur then adding a mom and wife to the mix. My goal is to leave this world a better place and I’ve chosen to do that by supporting women to break through into the man’s world. The women in my family are my constant motivation- my grandmother, who worked alongside my grandfather in their basement to start and grow a million dollar company, my mother, who made her name in a male-dominated construction industry as CEO and CFO in two different companies, and my daughter, who has a future filled with possibility that I want to ensure she has.
I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?
Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. This book became my version of a leadership bible the moment I picked it up. While I used this as a tool for literally every employee, it actually pushed me to better one specific leadership skill- giving recognition. It doesn’t always come naturally for me to recognize someone’s efforts and work, maybe it’s because I always have a very capable team or maybe it was something from my childhood. Regardless of where it came from, I am humbled to admit, this simple, yet effective tool has not only helped in the workplace but also at home with my family and friends.
What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?
During a storm, the leader’s role is to be the eye of it. The calming presence and the safe space filled with open, direct communication and empathy of the surrounding challenges.
When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team
The best thing a leader can do to boost morale is to put the human being first. Use the 5 Love Languages to make a team member feel appreciated, run a vision and goals session to support them even outside of the workplace, or hold meetings to get real-time feedback on what they need and want.
What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?
In person. This should not have to be said, but too many companies are hiding behind the computer to deliver difficult news. Always start by communicating that you ‘see them’, whether you acknowledge their dedication or thank them for taking on more work than usual. Human beings want to feel valued- show them that they are in some way. Then deliver the news in a direct, matter-of-fact manner. Ask if they have any questions and always leave with them knowing if they have questions later, your door is open.
How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable
Because of the Law of Polarity: there is an opposite for everything in the world. There will be highs and lows just like a rollercoaster. If a leader can accept the entire experience, you make plans that go beyond the low then hold on and make adjustments as needed.
Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?
People first, always and all ways. It is easy for a leader to get lost when business isn’t doing well or with uncertain times ahead, but people are always the constant. Turn to them, value them and come together to weather the storm.
Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?
Mass email layoffs come to mind first… but there is a reason why these companies are panicking. One common mistake is not forecasting for years to come. Right now, there are massive layoffs specifically from tech companies. WFH became popular and a need for many companies to keep running during the pandemic. What happened when employers pushed to go back into the office? Tech companies took a hit. This wasn’t forecasted or it was but not well. Difficult times can crumble any company who is not willing to adapt, pivot or innovate. Possibility stands in the difficult times because something needs to change and a true leader is agile enough to make it happen.
Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Communicate, always and all ways. Sometimes I feel as if I am over-communicating, but that’s not true. Talking openly about what is going on inside the business, in the climate outside of the business and how it is being affected will give your team a little slice of being in the know and being valued. I have never gotten the feedback that I share too much.
- De-stress. You know the saying ‘you can’t fill from an empty cup’, well, it’s very true. Burnout is one of those things that you don’t think about until it happens to you, until you find yourself not sleeping the recommended 8 hours or having the energy and enthusiasm to hangout with friends on the weekend. Doing even the small things that bring you joy will refill your cup so that you can be the leader your team needs.
- Be the eye of the storm. Be the calm and the peace when shit is possibly hitting the fan. Emotional intelligence has been starting to become popular but as a leader it is more important than ever. As a leader during turbulent times, no doubt you are experiencing every emotion on the scale, but here is how you use this in a healthy and productive way. You accept experiencing it all. You lead by example that you can still be strong, empathic and future focused. Your time will be seeing and hearing both the words you speak but also the unbetween- the actions, the pauses and even pickup on your energy.
- Hold the vision. A leader is the beacon of light, so when things around are rocky, you are shining light on what is possible, the future, the purpose. When I was managing my lululemon store, we created a yoga event for over 100 people, but the vision was something we all created and I held tight. When questions or obstacles got in the way, I guided them to our vision that our entire team created to go back to the moment of the felt sense.
- Agility. Specifically, I am referring to a leader’s ability to pivot, innovate or let go of an idea or product that is no longer working. Openness to flexibility is not always easy but allowing the ebbs and flows to guide your decision is what will sustain your business in the long run. Ready for an out-of-the-box example? You hired an employee to support a project that fell through, what if you taught that employee to fill a needed position as your HR manager?
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” This quote came from my HS tennis coach but has stuck with me ever since. It doesn’t matter what happens today, what happened yesterday. If you want it, never give up.
How can our readers further follow your work?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Emma Glass of Luxe Leadership On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.