An equal world is an enabled world: the importance of empowered leadership
March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a global day to celebrate and support the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as calling for women’s equality. International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century, and is recognized as a public holiday in over 25 countries.
Good leadership can make all the difference when it comes to having an empowered, inclusive and happy workplace. Five of our female leaders reflected on what it means to be a leader, the highs and lows, mentorship, motivation…and shared some words of advice.
Vice President Corporate and M&A Law, Deputy General Counsel
Anna started as the General Counsel of the foodpanda* group and joined Delivery Hero when the group was acquired in 2017. She embarked on a career as Head of M&A Law and Deputy General Counsel, and subsequently taking on responsibility for all corporate law matters. As a team lead, Anna focuses on balancing business strategy with legal counsel, as well as optimizing collaboration between internal stakeholders, her team, and external legal advisors.
“A good leader has the ability to make their team shine.”
I love my team and strive to be an inspiring leader. But for sure I, too, have made mistakes at the beginning of my management career. I took my time to find a personal leadership style. For instance, as a very direct person I had to learn how to give constructive feedback in a digestible way or motivate each team member individually to deliver their best possible performance.
Of course, I continue to learn and improve my management skills, but after more than 5 years of leadership experience I feel much more confident. Given the very dynamic and demanding environment at Delivery Hero, I am thrilled and humbled to lead a team of veritable rock stars, which means they are ambitious and set very high expectations for themselves.
When you have high expectations of your team it is key to offer support at the same time to achieve outstanding results. I believe in leading by example, making sure every person in my team is challenged, while at the same time providing help and training where needed.
My team and I have a very personal relationship – they have met my family and visited my home. It’s important to exhibit a degree of genuine interest in peoples’ personal lives in order to establish a productive working environment – as is opening up as a real human being. Personal flaws and mistakes of the leader tend to be accepted more easily and a true leadership culture can evolve.
A good leader has the ability to make their team shine. Team members can be and present themselves as the best versions of their professional selves under the leadership of a successful manager.
*foodpanda is part of the Delivery Hero family and operates in 13 countries across Asia and Eastern Europe.
Vice President, Finance Innovation
Gladys joined the Delivery Hero Finance team in January 2017 from hungryhouse*. She has covered a number of different roles since then as part of the Central team. Since February 2020, Gladys has been leading the Innovation team, a newly created role that looks into developing an agile finance function by partnering with stakeholders across the business to create a leaner, future-oriented organization.
“There is no me and them, it’s always us. That’s the beauty of working in teams.”
Like so many first time managers, I was very much trying to be the ‘perfect manager’. Then you realize that perfection is not possible, that you are much better off being yourself.
When it comes to managing a team, there are many challenges along the way, and you may think you have “done it all” but this is never the case. It’s important to learn from your mistakes and take responsibility when things go wrong. When you see the opportunities in every challenge then you can really grow and help others grow.
You win if your team wins. That simple. There is no me and them, it’s always us. That’s the beauty of working in teams. You also need to take into account how your team evolves, interacts, and how ‘happy’ everybody is. That is ultimately what a successful team is. You can’t have a winning team if only you focus on the business goals.
Another key element is to be able to offer opportunities for self-development, to encourage taking risks, and foster collaboration. It’s also important to set clear goals to understand what you, your team, and your company is aspiring to achieve in the short and long term.
I would identify myself as a transformational leader. That means to focus on clear communication, goal-setting and employee motivation and concentrating the energy on driving the business objectives forward. Doing that while the team grows in their professional path.
In order to be a good leader I believe you need a supercharge of empathy and to be able to provide a secure environment for your team and stakeholders. I also believe that good leadership drives motivation and a sense of belonging. When it happens, that collaboration evolves in a nourishing experience where everybody grows and wins.
*hungryhouse was a Delivery Hero brand
Vice President, International Markets
Oksana joined Delivery Hero in August 2015 from our brand Yemeksepeti*. Her role in the International team covers country performance both operational and financial, with a focus on the Americas and working with local teams there. This means monitoring and challenging business, financial and functional performance, observing trends, benchmarking with other countries, identifying risks and opportunities and driving change in order to offer our customers the best experience.
“Every experience is a win, every little failure is the reason to regroup and do better.”
It is quite hard to formulate [my first experiences as a manager]. Probably because I don’t really remember a specific moment that it started. We all manage stakeholders, and I have always worked with people who didn’t necessarily directly report to me, but I’d to steer them towards certain solutions or find a way to work together in order to fulfil my role requirements.
There have definitely been challenges along the way. It isn’t the only example, but definitely the most dramatic one: I remember quite vividly getting fever and nightmares the night before I had to let someone go for the first time in my life. It is later that I understood the value of tough decisions for both parties in these kinds of situations.
Learning every day is my win, I’d say. Every experience is a win, every little failure is the reason to regroup and do better, every success is the reason to move even further. Delivery Hero is so international and brings talented people with such different backgrounds together. This provides an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow.
I believe in giving credit, acknowledgment, recognition along with providing opportunity for growth, challenge. On the other hand, I try to understand what motivates a particular person, or rather what drives this person.
There are so many books written by smart people on the topic and they even contradict each other sometimes. In my ‘book’ the way to go is always: Creating transparency, setting expectations, allowing for initiative, recognizing achievements.
*Yemeksepeti is part of the Delivery Hero family and operates in Turkey.
Director, Global Communications
Sigrid started as Director of Global Communications in February 2020, and covers digital, internal and external communications, as well as public affairs. Together with her team, Sigrid takes care of how Delivery Hero is perceived both outside and inside the company, and communicates all the milestones we achieve – from financial updates and corporate news, to activation campaigns and social media moments.
“Just because you’re a lead doesn’t mean that you’re always right.”
In leading a team there is no such thing as quick wins. I prefer to build long-lasting relationships. My tip for new managers? Foster an open atmosphere, create a sense of belonging, articulate clear goals and a strong purpose. Working as a team does not mean that I am there to decide what other people do, but how we can achieve both our common and individual goals together.
Most importantly, have fun. We spend so much time at work, it needs to be enjoyable. It won’t be all the time, but as managers we can make sure to remove as many obstacles as possible to make the work experience better. Celebrate achievements! Celebrate failures! And make sure everyone is seen: even though we act as a group, it is equally important to recognize the individual and their achievements.
Although I love feedback I am well-aware that many people don’t. Turning both giving and receiving feedback from eating lemons to drinking lemonade is key to implement in any team and something I spend much time on.
Another thing to be mindful about is cultural differences and how to avoid conflicts that these can cause. Asking people how they prefer to receive feedback, for example, is a brilliant way to understand what type of interaction they prefer.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to fold or say you were wrong. Just because you’re a lead doesn’t mean that you’re always right. If you foster a team of experts, get used to being wrong. And bring cake once a week – JK. But cake’s good too.
Chief People Officer
Jeri joined Delivery Hero in January 2018 from Silicon Valley. Jeri is responsible for all things that impact the employee experience at Delivery Hero, from ensuring a positive environment to managing the people development programs.
Jeri shares an update on the importance of gender diversity in leadership and how Delivery Hero is approaching the challenge in an untraditional way.
Strategizing diversity: how we approach leadership at Delivery Hero
When I think about Delivery Hero, one of the things that I’m proud of is our inclusive culture. Caring for your fellow Heroes is part of our values, but creating a space for them to be themselves is something we actively work on ensuring at Delivery Hero.
Globally, and particularly in our headquarters in Berlin, we are very diverse in terms of backgrounds and nationalities, but where we still have an opportunity for improvement is when it comes to women in leadership.
Improving these numbers is a challenge that many companies face, however I don’t think we can take the same traditional approach that others have in the past. Some amazing companies have been trying to improve diversity numbers for decades; we’re not even a decade old and trying to solve the same problem.
Although we continue to hire externally to bridge the gap for female leaders in tech and throughout the business, just as importantly we want to empower our female employees to grow within the business and take on leadership roles. Providing an inclusive culture will help provide space for them to grow, but as a business we also need to provide them opportunities as well.
As we embark further on this mission to become more diverse, we can’t think of it in a traditional way; we have to be creative in solving this problem.
We want to have a diverse set of leaders because we know that diversity makes for fairer, inclusive and more innovative workplaces. One of the things we’re exploring is the potential of more virtual teams. In addition, it is important we mirror our consumers. Therefore, diversity of genders matter. We want to have different perspectives at the table, which will provide a better product to our consumers and also a better environment for our teams.