Estee Lauder was a trailblazing businesswoman and co-founder of the Estee Lauder Companies, a global cosmetics and fragrance company. Born Josephine Esther Mentzer in 1908 in New York City, Lauder is known for her contributions to the beauty industry and for building a successful global brand. Some of her major accomplishments include developing a line of skin care products, pioneering the use of department store demonstrations and free samples, and advocating for women in business. Despite passing away in 2004, Lauder’s legacy lives on through the enduring success of the Estee Lauder Companies. So, what can we learn from her leadership?
Lead by example
Lauder was known for being dedicated to her work and setting high standards for herself. She worked hard to build the Estee Lauder Companies into a successful global brand and was known for her tireless work ethic. As you would expect from someone who built a cosmetics empire, she also believed in the power of personal grooming and presentation and set a high standard for herself in this regard. She expected her employees to follow suit and to present themselves in a professional manner, but she knew that if she wanted them to do so, she must first do so.
Leading by example is often underrated. In the corporate world it can often seem that the default management style is – do as I say, not as I do. But if a leader demands things of their employees that they are not willing to do themselves, it can create a number of problems within the organization. This is because employees may feel that the leader is not being fair or is not setting a good example for them to follow. This can lead to a lack of trust and respect for the leader and can create a negative and unproductive culture within the organization. When employees feel that their leader is not leading by example, it can also lead to decreased morale and engagement. They may feel that their leader is not setting a good example for them to follow and may be less motivated to do their best work. It also leads to a lack of trust in the leader. Employees may feel that their leader is not being fair or is not acting with integrity. This can create tension and conflict within the organisation.
Mentor and support women
Estee Lauder was also known for her support of other women in business and for mentoring female entrepreneurs. She believed in the potential of women and was committed to helping them succeed. One way that Lauder supported other women was by offering them opportunities to work at the Estee Lauder Companies. She was known for hiring and promoting women in leadership positions, and for providing them with the support and resources they needed to succeed. Lauder was also actively involved in mentoring and advising other women in business. She was a member of several organizations that supported women entrepreneurs, and she often shared her knowledge and experience with others.
For example, Lauder was a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization, a global organization that provides support and resources for women business owners. She was also a founding member of the Women’s Business Development Council, a non-profit organization that helps women start and grow their businesses. In addition to these formal mentorship and support programs, Lauder was known for being approachable and willing to share her insights and advice with others. She was highly respected in the business community and was often sought out by other women for guidance and support. In a world where many organisations claim they are looking to ensure equality, they could learn a lot by adopting a similar approach to Estee Lauder.
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