U Beauty produces luxury skincare that is smart, science-based and empowers consumers to make careful choices to change the world. We sat down with their founder, Tina Craig, to learn more about her leadership style and to get advice for aspiring sustainability leaders.
What makes a great – or successful – leader?
True empathy, compassion, and understanding are the most important qualities in a leader – and the key to success. Respect other people’s time, not just your own. Finally, be collaborative and share your vision. For example, from our marketing and creative teams to our cosmetic chemists, the bright, dedicated people I work with inspire me, and their collective experiences help ensure we’re focusing on the latest advances in science and sustainability.
A great leader knows how to be a team member. They don’t just listen to the people around them, who are ideally the best and brightest in the industry. They process what they’re saying. It’s vital to talk with people, not at them.
What are your personal strengths as a leader?
I pride myself on making people feel like they belong and are valued, whether we work closely together every day or we see each other once a year. I view myself as the part of the team that makes the wheels go round, and I constantly ask myself, “how can I make this ride smoother for everyone?”
I am also very driven to solve problems. Growing up, when I’d run to my father with complaints, he always said: “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.” I always want to be part of the solution.
What is the toughest lesson you learned?
The hardest lesson I’ve learned is that not everyone is going to like you – and that’s perfectly fine. That didn’t used to be okay with me, probably because I grew up an immigrant in a place where my background was different from those around me. I didn’t take anything, including validation and encouragement from other people, for granted, and I eventually learned to not seek approval from others. What counts is if you can look honestly at yourself and approve of what you see.
And the most rewarding?
There’s crossover between the toughest and most rewarding lessons. It’s commonly said that it doesn’t matter what people think of you. But it does – because the experience you give people matters. Therein lies the difference between being concerned if people like you and caring about how you make them feel. Learning I’m a people-pleaser not for myself, but because I care about not causing discomfort to anyone else, has been an infinitely rewarding lesson.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring leader?
Failures are stepping-stones to success. If you look at a failure as a shortcoming, you’re going to get stopped and stuck early on. I never take no for an answer and I never get deterred by challenges. If anything, they propel me to want to succeed even more.
Why should people be positive about the future?
We have the ability to shape our own realities. That’s why I start every day with positive affirmations and mindful meditation: assured thoughts manifest better realities, and positivity begets positivity. We might not be able to control everything, but our outlooks have power and we should harness it.
As far as within the beauty industry, health and wellness advances are moving at the fastest pace of all time and the world is more connected than ever. Collectively, we’re working hard to improve sustainability across all supply chains. When an industry works together, improvements are exponential – we can make the best choices available to produce safe, effective products that a customer feels good about purchasing. That’s why it’s encouraging to see a true effort to produce responsibly. With a united industry, it’s easier to succeed and in the end, we all win.