The Skill Set: 7 Essential Leadership Tips

Blushington’s president and CEO weighs in.

Natasha Cornstein, the president and CEO of Blushington, shared some major career wisdom with us based on her own diverse experience—she spent time in the New York City deputy mayor’s office, worked her way up from the bottom in broadcast news and held executive roles at several companies before joining Blushington. We asked the seasoned exec for her advice for up­-and-­coming leaders and managers.



The Skill Set: 7 Essential Leadership Tips

1. Create a decision-­making process

The ability to make a confident decision is one of your most important skills as a leader. That’s
what I’m doing all day long. I have surrounded myself with great mentors that I have met
throughout my career. I started my morning today with one of my mentors in the beauty
industry—we went to a SoulCycle class and then sat down for coffee. Going into it, I knew that
there were three things that I wanted to go over with her and ask for her advice on. I’ve built
this group of sounding boards and created a decision-­making process for myself that includes
asking for their input. I like to listen to competing interests and opinions, and then ultimately be
the one to make the decision.

2. Gather information

I was a Coro fellow, and the mantra there was, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Ask
questions so you can make informed decisions, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

3. Grow your team

There’s nothing that gives me greater pleasure than seeing someone develop. I do a call every
week with the managers of all our locations, and we just initiated a regular call that includes our
assistant managers and our trainers. Every single woman on the phone had come to us as an
artist and had been promoted once, twice or even three times. There’s nothing that gives me
greater satisfaction or pleasure than seeing the development of my team and the progression
of talent.

4. Be supportive

My management style is a blend of being compassionate and, when necessary, tough. My
team knows that, whatever they need, if they come to me, the answer will be yes as long as
there’s a give and take. That creates the best work environment. My team knows that they have
my full support. I don’t get upset over mistakes unless we make the same mistake twice. I
never come down on anyone for an honest mistake. That’s how we learn, improve and move forward.

5. Allow flexibility

We’re all many things—we’re mothers, wives, daughters and executives. As a leader,
appreciating those many roles and allowing your team a level flexibility is ultimately best for
business. My expectation is that, if we’re opening a new store or there’s an unbelievable
opportunity for the company that will require extra work, I’ll have a lot of people raising their
hands, volunteering to support the effort. At the same time, I respect my team’s roles outside
the office and allow them flexibility when they need it.

6. Foster open communication

It’s essential to set clear expectations and encourage open dialogue. One of my mentors told me, “Nobody is a mind reader,” and I always say that to my team. Communication is key. Your team should be aligned on what the company’s objectives are.

7. Prioritize your time

One of the biggest challenges in my position is prioritizing my time to focus on what will truly
move the business forward. Because of technology, we’re expected to make real­time
decisions, and things move quickly. It’s easy to become distracted. It’s important for me, as a
leader, to stay focused and keep my eye on our priorities. There are a lot of tempting opportunities, but if they don’t align with our goals as a company and move us forward, I can’t spend time on them.


Images courtesy of Ivanka Trump
Photographer: Kenneth Grzymala