Leadership styles for all seasons

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to leadership. Different situations require different approaches. What worked in one setting might not be as effective in another.

So how are we supposed to know which leadership style to choose for a given business situation?

We found the overview in this article in Fast Company pretty insightful. It breaks out the following 6 leadership styles and describes the situations where they will take you the farthest:

  1. The pacesetting leader. Motto: “Do as I do, now.” Best for already motivated teams when quick results are needed.
  2. The authoritative leader. Motto: “Come with me.” Works best when the team needs to be excited around a new vision.
  3. The affiliative leader. Motto: “People come first.” Best in times of stress or when the team needs to rebuild trust.
  4. The coaching leader. Motto: “Try this.” Works best when the leader wants to help teammates build lasting personal strengths.
  5. The coercive leader. Motto: “Do what I tell you.” Best in times of crisis, such as in a company turnaround or a takeover attempt.
  6. The democratic leader. Motto: “What do you think?” Most effective when the leader needs fresh ideas from qualified teammates.

The article will give you more background. Why don’t you head over and see which leadership styles might work best for your tasks at hand?

Business Travel, beautiful

Business travel is a bit of a necessary evil and often quite literally “part of the job.” Most companies have installed stricter rules around business and first class placements, so we all end up together in coach sometimes. Here are a few tips to get you to your destination in style and comfort.

  • Coconut water. We know you can’t bring it through security but it’s worth stocking up on super hydrating coconut water at the airport shop.
  • Moisture mist. Every hour in the air drains more moisture from your skin. We love this lightly fragrant Caudalie Beauty Elixier mist to refresh our skin and senses.
  • Braid your hair. An easy French braid is the best hair style for long flights. You can lean back and it looks lovely even as it gets a bit messy from trying to find a comfortable position.
  • Sleep mask. Redeye again? We feel your pain. This “NapForm” sleep mask keeps all light out and does not press on your precious lashes. It cushions the undereye area and the gentle pressure will send you right to sleep.
  • NextIssue. This app turns your smartphone or tablet into a well-stocked magazine newsstand. With access to 140 magazine titles (Fast Company, People, Wired, Elle, New Yorker, and everything else for your high and low brow reading needs) you won’t run out of things to read no matter how long your flight.
  • Saline nasal mist. We always get a little paranoid whenever someone has a cough on the plane. We’ve been using saline nasal mist ever since we heard that keeping your nose hydrated helps ward off infections. So far so good!
  • Lip tint. A bit of lasting color and a lot of moisture, these Tarte LipSurgence lip tints are a great on-board choice. They promise to increase the moisture levels of your pout by 6000%. Doubles as a cheek stain in a pinch.

Last-minute Presentation Prep

Do you get instant sweaty palms like we do when you have to give impromptu remarks or a last-minute presentation?

Public speaking can be absolutely terrifying—especially when there’s little or no time to prepare. We’ve found some useful tips for making off-the-cuff remarks a little less daunting at Harvard Business Review’s blog. These should also work well for any occasion where you have to say something and are not sure how to say it. The gist?

  • Jot down a quick structure
  • Start with the punchline
  • Acknowledge your audience
  • Memorize what to say–not how to say it
  • Keep it brief

Remember these and we’re sure you’ll kill it.

Tech Shabbat. Why don’t you switch off

Rewind to one and a half years ago: I had just timidly switched off all my screens for 24 hours for the very first time as I wanted to incorporate “screen free” episodes in my life.

My relationship with technology is best described as obsessive. I never met a screen or an app I didn’t like.  Switching everything off seemed crazy and the mere thought gave me separation anxiety. Yet, I wanted to give it a shot.

I had watched this video where Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards, talked about her Tech Shabbats. A weekly ritual, where Tiffany would turn off her screens from Friday night to Saturday night. She called them her “resets for the soul” and I was scared — and intrigued! It helped that she was a respected figure in tech and not a random person, overwhelmed by the possibilities of today’s technology. What she said carried weight.

It’s been one and a half years and the weekly Tech Shabbats have become a habit. It’s just something I do. Every Friday night at sundown my screens go dark. My smartphone, my laptop, my tablet. No Facebook updates, no Instagram photos, no tweets, no emoji-based conversations on Whatsapp, Threema, Google Hangout.

It’s pretty drastic.

Often really inconvenient. (Have you tried to find an address without Google Maps in the past 8 years?)

Sometimes a bit annoying. (Especially to those around you who are used to changing plans on the fly, with a text message.)

But I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. My weekly disconnect.

I vividly remember the first time. I nearly broke into a sweat. Would I miss something? Would I miss EVERYTHING? I distracted myself with aimless activities. Hair needed to be braided. Makeup brushes needed to be cleaned. By Saturday morning I was convinced that I would die if I didn’t immediately switch everything back on. (You think this sounds like the workings of a teenager’s brain? It felt like it too!)

But I learned to appreciate the weekly habit. Felt refreshed. Gained clarity. If I had hit a wall with a business problem in the previous week, during my Tech Shabbat, the solution often presented itself in those screen free hours. It was a bit spooky at first. Now I practically count on it.

Because it makes perfect sense.

We are rarely in situations anymore where we rely only on ourselves. Moments of reflection, quiet, and, God forbid: boredom are scarce. When do “heavy screen users” like I clearly am (and you probably are) just sit down and stare aimlessly into space? How long can a glimmer of a thought develop before we scare it away with a distraction? When do we allow ourselves to be a little bored without immediately resorting to our routine refresh tour-de-force through all our apps?

Now those moments of reflection and quiet are a normal part of my week.

It’s a bit of an acquired taste — like the taste for oysters. But those 24 hours every week work for me. And maybe they work for you too.

If you’d like to try it and are scared I want to remind you that I was basically beside myself. You can do it too!

And I can promise one thing: It’s worth it even just for the joy of switching everything back on again!

Why don’t you try it once and see how it goes?


– Katja Bartholmess. “It’s my passion to inspire and motivate other ambitious women with my stories and experiences from over a decade of entrepreneurship.”

Balance the “balls of life”

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit — and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

The former CEO of Coca Cola, Brian Dyson, said this.

It rang so true with us that we needed to share it with you. Looking at the things that matter to us with a heightened awareness of their fragility (family, health, friends, and spirit) and resilience (work) might help us make better decisions. We will never have less on our plates and balance is never easy to achieve. But why don’t your try it with us?

Fall on your fingertips

“Pick a polish!” — These three words greet us at every nail salon. If you’re getting a bit bored with your go-to shade and want to mix things up for fall — we have fall trends for your fingertips.

Take a look at this slide show where Elle.com editors present their favorite polish picks for fall. Some lovely, classy choices. We’re particularly intrigued by this unexpected chocolatey shade:


Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 12.49.39 PM

Laura Mercier. Nail lacquer in Cocoa Suede. Available here.

For even more choices check out PopSugar’s list of Fall Nail Polish Trends. We will be wearing this golden caramel shade with our knits and layers:

Butter_BrickLaneButter London. Nail lacquer in Brick Lane. Available here.

We hope these choices help you when you find yourself stuck in indecision in front of The Wall of Colors at your nail salon.

Easy Wardrobe Updates for Fall

Fall is firmly upon us and it’s time to add a few new items to our work wardrobe! (Don’t tell anyone but we still feel a little cheated for not getting any “back to school” presents anymore.)

We liked Elle Magazine’s “20 Finds for under $100” and you might like some of the tops, bags, hats, even sunglasses for those bright fall days.

Our favorites:

A pair of short leather gloves. Perfect if you’re taking your Vespa or your vintage bike to work — or want to look like you did. $45. Available here.

Amato_gloves_shopbopThis felt fedora in wooly grey keeps your hair in place and your head warm. $95. Available here.

whistles-fedoraA black backpack that looks cool and fits our Mac Book, the stack of notepads we like to tote around, and a fully stocked cosmetics bag? Sign us up! $66.65. Available here.


Success, Her Way. Interview with Judita Wignall

We are very excited about our new interview series: Success, Her Way. We are talking with women who are pursuing their own ideas of success. You’ll get personal insights on the paths they’ve chosen, how their definition of success has changed over the years, and what their habits of success these great women have. — Share it with your friends and colleagues if you find yourself inspired by it.

Today’s successful lady is Judita Wignall. Besides being a positively radiant person, she’s a health counselor, raw food chef, and cookbook author. She divides her time between LA, New York, and Costa Rica — that alone sounds like a pretty successful life to us. Read below to learn about her 4 habits of success, how great it felt to see her book on the shelves next to her favorite cookbooks and much more.


Tell us a little where you are in your career and how you got there.

Judita Wignall: I’m a former commercial actress/model turned raw food chef and cookbook author. I originally got into raw foods over 7 years ago to look good in front of the camera, but soon it became an obsession and spawned into a full time job. I loved raw food so much I enrolled in culinary school, became a health coach, and got a book deal. I just finished writing my 3rd raw food recipe book, Raw and Simple Detox, which will be out in February next year. It’s been quite a journey. (Her other books are Going Raw and Raw and Simple. They are translated into German and other languages. –ed.)

What about your work and career do you enjoy the most?

I love that my message of health is changing lives. People are losing weight, feeling better, and feeling inspired to be their best selves. It’s so rewarding to get emails from my readers that my books have helped them so much. I also love working for myself. Everything I do is either in my kitchen or on my laptop, which gives me a ton of freedom to travel, but also to have quality time at home.

What is your personal definition of “success”? Has it changed over the years?

Success is doing work you love. Work that gets you bouncing out of bed every morning, that inspires creativity, cultivates happiness and validates your purpose in this world. Its taken me several years to get to the point where I can follow my heart and only work on projects that I’m passionate about. I used to think success was how much I had in the bank, but at the end of the day it’s never enough. It doesn’t satisfy your soul like pouring your heart out into a project, watching your ideas materialize or helping others.

Some people say success is achieved through a series of habits. What are your “habits of success”?

First, always be learning. I’m a total health junkie so I listen and read health podcasts, books and blogs daily. I need to stay on top of cutting edge nutrition for my work, but also for my own personal growth and enjoyment. Learning keeps our brain young and inspires new ideas.

Second, make a plan. Because I have to be my own boss and cheerleader, Every night I write out my schedule of everything I need to do for the next day. This keeps me on task and focused. If I wake up without it, I end up getting distracted by less important things. I also write out a weekly and monthly plan of deadlines and goals to be completed.

Third, don’t be a slave to email. Half of the emails I receive are from people asking me to do something for them. Things like contributing to a website, submitting recipes, reviewing or promoting products are fun, but time consuming. I got to the point where I’d spend my whole day doing things for other people and not have time to focus on my own work. Now I only check email in the morning. I pick the things I really want to do and allow myself permission to pass on the rest.

Last, but not least, be grateful. Along with my evening to do list, I also take time to write down three things I’m grateful for that day. Even if my day was horrible I still try to focus on the good things. Gratitude cultivates a positive mindset, reduces stress and boosts confidence. Smartphone apps like My Gratitude Journal are great for this exercise.

What were the more difficult steps you took on your path? Can you tell us more?

Switching gears from a successful commercial career to an undefined pursuit of holistic diet and lifestyle was tough. I had no idea what I was doing or how I could make money, but I knew in my heart this would be more gratifying. It took some time and effort as I grew into a proficient chef, instructor and coach to get to a place where I’m confident and making a living. Practice makes perfect, but also just putting yourself out there and admitting, “I might fail at this, but who cares!” is part of the process. If you believe in the message and purpose of the work, it will all come together and people will be attracted to what you have to say.

Are there any things you’d never compromise or sacrifice for your career?

Self care, time with my husband, friends and family. The only way I’m productive is if I’m balanced. That means good quality sleep, diet, exercise and strong relationships with those I love. When those things are in line, I can thrive with my career and conquer any challenge.

If you had to choose one moment of success that meant the most to you, which one would it be?

Seeing my book at Barnes and Nobles nestled in between my favorite raw chefs for the first time felt so good. To go from eating microwaved meals every day, to becoming a chef, to a published author was such a journey. It was the best feeling to see all that hard work in concrete form.

What’s the next project you’re looking forward to?

Last year I launched an online store called City & Sea Trading. I carry some of my favorite beauty products, supplements, home goods, and healthy gourmet foods you can’t really find anywhere else. This next year we’re going to start developing our own products, under the City & Sea brand, as well as ramp up the City & Sea Living blog with healthy lifestyle articles, videos, recipes, and interviews. I’m excited to see where things go and where life takes me next.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, Judita.