One of the most important things when it comes to the business world is leadership. It’s the melting pot of the best skills that business leaders have, aiding them in guiding and navigating companies. No matter what leadership position a person holds, they need to have the ability to bring people together to achieve a goal.
Read on for some sound, vital advice from leaders of Black-owned businesses across multiple industries:
1. “Know your numbers!” – Kimberly Bryant, Founder & CEO of Black Girls CODE
Black Girls CODE is a non-profit organization aiming to “build pathways for young women of color [or WOC] to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators.”
Bryant’s mission is all about numbers; she hopes to empower 1 million WOC “to become innovators in STEM fields.” The young women she hopes to help are aged 7 to 17, and the goal is time-bound to the year 2040.
“[It’s important to understand] your reach, customer conversion metrics, revenues and expenses front to back,” she says, underlining the importance of knowing one’s numbers. She adds that it’s important for investments to be secured and for business growth to be measured properly.
This is not meant to discount what a professional can do. However, a business leader can and should be responsible for knowing the nitty-gritty of the business’ finances.
2. “Don’t forget emotional intelligence!” – Sherrell Dorsey, Founder of TP Insights
TP Insights is a newsletter focused on Black innovations and founders that has since branched out to reporting Black trends in tech alongside breaking news.
Despite the recent civic movements, there’s still a lot of racism faced by Black business owners. This leads to experiences that are humiliating and rough, fueled not just by racism but also sexism. When that’s paired with the already-demanding daily tasks in business, things can get overwhelmingly fast.
According to the Harvard Business review, emotional intelligence counts towards practically “90 percent of what sets high performers apart from peers” who have similar knowledge and technical skills.
“Emotional intelligence will make or break your leadership journey with your team and clients,” Dorsey says. “[Exercising] that EQ muscle will shape our forward trajectories when we invest in it frequently and ruthlessly.”
3. “You need self-care!” – Wayne Sutton, Founder of The Icone Project
The Icon Project is aimed specifically at addressing “mental health and professional development needs for Black and Brown men in tech” based on Sutton’s own experiences with depression.
“You need to practice self-care,” Sutton advises, “to be emotionally prepared to lead others.”
It’s tough to get anything done when running at less than optimum condition. This doesn’t just apply to physical fatigue or long hours at the office. Mental health is crucial not just to make informed business decisions but also to help subordinates navigate and pull through.
Leadership is particularly vital in business, no matter the industry. Many Black leaders in the field have essential advice to share. Practicing self-care, knowing the numbers, and not forgetting emotional intelligence will go a long way.
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