Everyone has the capacity to be inspiring but it’s rare to find a platform to seek out inspiration and share experiences.
Earlier this month, we spoke with Nikki Demetriou, Country Manager for luxury Swiss watch label, Baume & Mercier about finding support in a not-so-likely place plus how she worked through one of the biggest professional challenges to date.
Today, we dive a little deeper into how she developed her own leadership style as well as what she attributes her success to today and how to handle feedback like a boss.
This is Part 2 in a 2 part series
- You mentioned in Part 1 that you were inspired by the women that you met & were exposed to at The Dream Collective events back when we'd first begun. How does it feel to know that you are now one of these inspiring women yourself?
It feels a little surreal to know that my story might be of value to others. Everyone has the capacity to be inspiring but it’s rare to find a platform to seek out inspiration and share experiences. I think that’s why The Dream Collective was so valuable to me throughout my career. Being exposed to successful women outside of my own sphere and hearing their stories was a genuine motivator.
- You also talked about changing industry in order to gain leadership experience. I imagine that would have been a really difficult decision given you were so familiar with the jewellery industry. Talk to us about how you were so sure that this was the right move and what that process looked like for you.
I wasn’t sure at all. It was really daunting to step away from an industry I knew so well. So many of my friends and colleagues were questioning my decision. I had turned down a few offers within the industry, some really good offers, to take a role that would formalise my managerial experience. It really was all about how my resume looked and while I wasn’t in love with the product I was representing, I was passionate about leadership and business management. Looking back now it really was this role that was the turning point in my career and prepared me for my dream job.
- You speak about managing the misconception that empathy is a flaw. Talk to us a little more about how you did that. Was there a particular moment you can recall?
I recall a time when the organisation I worked for completely overhauled its distribution model leading to many of my clients being negatively affected. Some of these clients were long-term partners of the brand where the impact on their business was significant.
I felt the situation required a high level of consideration and respect and I demonstrated a great deal of empathy. This approach was not supported by my manager who questioned the need for such a delicate handling of the situation. It occurred to me that while my method was appreciated by my colleagues and clients, others may have been less sensitive to the situation and the outcome would have been the same.
It was an important moment for me because although I believed my empathetic leadership style was a strength, it made me realise there are pitfalls to this characteristic if it’s not understood or appreciated.
My view remains that tough decisions in business need to be executed wisely and with a great deal of care towards negatively affected parties. It is simply not enough to have empathy as a leader, it needs to be demonstrated.
- What suggestions do you have for those that have identified a potential mentor but haven’t yet plucked up the courage to seek their mentorship?
Remember that a mentorship doesn’t need to be formalised in order for it to work. I’ve approached people before that I could see didn’t have strong role models and were on the verge of leaving the company. I still have ex-employees reach out to me just to bounce things off me. It’s an incredibly rewarding relationship.
- And finally, what advice would you give your 20-something year old self – professional and/or personal?
Let’s face it, you are a workaholic! Remember to find time to enjoy the journey and take more lunch breaks!
This is a proud partnership with Baume et Mercier.
With a 187-year history, Baume et Mercier has built an international reputation for creating luxury Swiss watches of the highest quality.
As a generous Maison that expresses watchmaking excellence in all its creations, their ethos - devised by its founders - is simple: “Accept only perfection, only manufacture watches of the highest quality”.
To learn more, please visit www.baume-et-mercier.com