Ranked #25 on Forbes‘ 2015 Most Powerful Women in the World list, and now the first female executive at Apple, Angela Ahrendts takes the lead as the highest paid female executive in the United States. Angela took home a whopping $83 million in 2014.
Although she may hail from a small town in Indiana, there’s nothing small about her pockets. Apple compensated her $73 million just to woo her away from Burberry.
This begs the question, what makes Angela Ahrendts so valuable?
During her tenure at Burberry, she instilled core values that not only mean a lot to her, but to the team as well. These are the four main approaches Angela used to lead a successful business.
As a firm believer of the saying “know what you know and know what you don’t know”, Angela was never good at talking about herself.
What she was good at was talking about the team, the people who know what you don’t.
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
From day one, Angela collaborated with all members of Burberry, bringing together senior managers and even entry level employees to brainstorm on re-launching a brand that had lost it’s edge.
Any great leader knows that knowledge is power and involving your entire team ensures that they understand the strategy behind what’s next, which results in better performance.
Listen, Learn & Feel
Knowing she couldn’t do it on her own, Angela listened and she learned. Instead of taking an approach in which she dictates what should be done, she welcomes suggestions from those around her.
She is also an avid listener, which is a fundamental skill every great leader has. Giving her employees undivided attention and respect gives them the confidence to express their ideas and empowers them to think outside the box.
By utilizing the perspectives of her employees, Angela is able to analyze a problem from multiple points of view, thus bringing forth fresh perspectives and solutions that she may not have thought of on her own.
Balancing between being a wife, a mother, and CEO of a powerhouse fashion brand, is no walk in the park, but Angela sets an example for her employees by sorting out personal priorities and living those out to the fullest which in turn inspires others to do the same.
“It is my job to set an example. We have a lot of working women here [at Burberry] and I always tell them they are mothers first”
Having a team of majority women means that they are required to play different roles in their personal and professional lives.
Angela forbids her employees from working on the weekends so they can spend time with their families.
Work-life balance is very important to Ahrendts and because she makes such strong efforts to prioritize that, it leaves the rest of the team with no choice but to do the same.
Something we all have in common is the powerful force of energy. What we do with it on a day-to-day basis can be the leading factor of your success. It has a powerful way of uniting ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
“People will forget what you did, they will forget what you said, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”
Angela Ahrendts not only believes in it, she lives by it. Burberry’s culture is guided by trust, intuition, and belief.
Trust, which is the underlying foundation in every human relationship. It is the most important source of positive energy and it brings forth freedom and peace to explore.
Intuition is almost always right and if trusted, it can guide you to take necessary steps and precautions.
Belief is that necessary confidence that if you believe in what you are doing, nothing will stop you from achieving. Belief sets energy in motion and along with trust and intuition, it will create the success that leads to more success.
Every CEO, founder, and executive has their own leadership style; however, the common and most important is having a positive attitude and a phenomenal team.
When your team can feel your presence and you have a positive impact on those around you, magic happens. You give them a sense of purpose, which brings forth passion and excitement.
“Leading is not a walk in the park,” says Angela, but she learned from her mistakes.
The mistakes of not listening, not feeling, not trusting your instincts, and not using your team. It’s with no question that with experience, you get smarter.
It is also with no question that we live in a world of information. Why not use it to your advantage and learn what you shouldn’t do as a young leader.