Lead by example

Education Manager Asia Pacific for The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica. Emma Hobson reveals the 10 things she has learnt about educating the beauty students of the future.

  1. Nothing remains the same so be open and adaptive to change.

“Psychologists tell us that most of us don’t really like, embrace or cope well with change, yet it is the constant that is the driver in most businesses and something we all have not only to get used to but something we have to learn to enjoy and not fear.

I’ve learnt as not only a leader of a team but also the company spokesperson on various platforms that it’s my responsibility to communicate innovation and change in systems, protocols and our products with a great degree of transparency, authenticity, inclusion and positivity. Any change needs the buy-in from others it effects, it’s vital to highlight the benefits to each person or the business, the challenges as well as the opportunities it brings with it. Open dialogue is essential, providing a safe place to discuss reservations and fears and overcoming those for a positive outcome.

I’ve personally loved working for a company that is in constant evolvement and innovation mode striving constantly to be the best. In my long tenure my job description has changed dramatically, not only have I had to reinvent myself several times but so have my team and my department. I’m proud to say I’ve never had a day when I’ve been bored or not challenged in some way thanks to constant change and I love it!”

  1. Keep curious, keep interested.

“I’m naturally a curious soul which helps greatly in my profession. In an industry of constant innovation and change it’s mandatory to keep abreast of what’s happening, the trends what’s hot, what’s not, new ingredients and product development, new technologies across the board and new business strategies. It’s also important to keep your antenna up to notice what’s happening outside of our industry and how and why something is successful and importantly can that translate and be replicated in some way to what we do.

Keeping curious, keeps me engaged and excited and I believe is one of the reasons I’ve remained in the same industry my whole working life.”

  1. Keep educated

“If I didn’t see the immense value in education I shouldn’t be in my role. Education is the food that fuels me, drives me, develops me and keeps me on top of my game as it does with all that it serves.

I strive to be constantly better at what I do, I love to learn from others who are experts in their field who impart their knowledge so I can keep progressing forward.  I know that without years of continued learning be that from a book, a course, a conversation with someone amazing, a lesson I learnt from another I would not be the person I am today nor had an incredibly rewarding career. I have to acknowledge the company I work for which has been responsible for much of my professional development and is supportive of its employees with training and development opportunities.”

  1. Relationships are everything.

“Those three words are more valuable than diamonds because we are all in the relationship business. If you don’t like people, then this certainly isn’t the industry for you.

Strong professional relationships are the bonds that keep us tightly woven together. Being an industry predominately of women for women this is so important to us, we need good relationships like we need oxygen to survive.

I’ve learnt to value above all things the importance of forming good relationships with work colleagues, suppliers and our customers. Having great relationships allows me to get so much more out of my role, it’s why I love my job so much, it’s the wonderful people I encounter each and every day. It also allows me to foster respect, empathy and understanding for others, have open dialogue and clear communication in an environment of trust.”

  1. Inspiring leadership

“I do not lead my team on my own, I must give credit to my fabulous and very capable support managers who do an incredible job.

Leadership is a skill set that very few were born with, for the majority, like myself it’s a skill learnt by trial and error and investment in leadership education. To effectively lead a team, you need to put your own ego aside, because it’s not about you, it’s about them.  Being accountable for the development of other people, their happiness, success and fulfilment is a huge responsibility and one I take very seriously.

What I’ve learnt is that if you make a team member feel safe, supported, valued, important, cared for and heard, having their best interests at heart, they will give you the very best of themselves, enjoy what they do, see themselves growing and developing and stay loyal to you and their work colleagues.”

  1. Switch off

“It’s too easy to let the day to day systems of how things are done just keep happening without questioning whether they are still effective or even necessary. If any staff member can’t answer ‘why do we do it that way, do we still need it or can we do it better’? to any system we have then we know it’s time for it to go, especially if the answer were to be “because we’ve always done it that way”.  So each team member is charged with feeding back to me what they think is unnecessary and we can switch off completely or create a more effective way.

This allows better productivity, happier team members who are not bogged down with unnecessary, demotivating tasks that seem pointless to them.”

  1. Communication is key

“Clear, concise communication and excellent listening skills, are one of the greatest gifts you can give to another. It eradicates misunderstandings, puts you on the same page and it empowers the people you are communicating with a great deal.

I’ve had to work hard on my communication skills being an educator and a manager, there has been a direct correlation between the better the communicator the more successful I have become. I’ve had to learn the relevance and importance of attentive listening (not easy for a born chatterer) and realise that this is as important if not more important that actually speaking at times.

I recommend and credit much of my communication skills to an author I read many years ago called Dale Carnegie on effective communication, each page of his various works was like gold to me.

Without good communication skills (in our industry) it’s like walking in quicksand, you’ll struggle to create relationships with your customers and your co-workers, creating trust will be difficult and promoting treatments and selling products nearly impossible.”

  1. Delegate effectively

“It’s easy to think you can do something faster and better, but this is simply self-serving. If we are to develop a team, give them interesting work we have to let go of things that not only are we good at but also that we enjoy. Delegation is not about handing out tasks that you don’t like doing but responsibilities that challenge them and develop them, it’s also essential if you wish to harness a succession plan with your team members long term.

If I am to be effective at my job I have to trust my team and share the workload and empower them to make a substantial contribution to our productivity and our end goal. I’d never delegate a responsibility that did not come with the required training or my support, or the buy in from the employee. Checking in on their progress I’ve learnt is vital, offering support where needed but never micromanaging or taking over the task unless it is absolutely necessary.

Delegation has proven to provide me the space and time to work on my projects effectively and see my team excel and be empowered in their roles.”

  1. Be present

“Having a job with what seems a million and one things to do and a mind that is constantly working in overdrive, it could be so easy to be in someone’s company to have your head space somewhere else and not be actually present. Studying mindfulness has been an enormous help in my career and personal life, teaching me the skills to keep attentive to the person or people you are with, I’ve learnt that this is a great gift you can give to someone else that makes them feel good about themselves, feel important, respected and listened to. It also means you actually take in accurate information and have the ability to respond with clarity.”

  1. Nothing comes without hard work

“A lesson I learnt from my parents that has served me enormously well is that hard work is what is required if you want to have the respect of others, achieve excellent results and meet deadlines. I have found no other way that produces the desired result than with hard, focused work.”

  1. Customers and clients are key

“Understanding the enormous importance and value of our customers and our clients has always to be in the forefront of my mind, they are the reason I have this amazing job, they are the reason we exist as a company, without their continued support it would all disappear.  For this reason, I’ve learnt that one must always put the needs and welfare of the customer first.”

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