Today, we spoke with Tashia Owen, owner of Tashi Soap Company. She shared her thoughts on Leadership.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?

I have a few mentors that taught me many things that I looked up to, both in my personal life and in business. I’ll start with my dad. He taught me to respect others, to always make them feel valued, and to be grateful for the things they do for you in life, because everyone is placed in your life for a reason. Always say please, thank you, yes ma’am, no sir, and shake their hand whenever you can. And he told me that I can do anything in life that my heart desires with enough dedication and passion. My mom taught me how to be a hostess; always ask if there is anything I can do for others or see if they need anything. And coming from a long line of many professionals, surgeons, hospital administrators, doctors, I learned that I had it in me somewhere to succeed greatly. My grandmother went through psychology school twice, once in Cuba, and again in the US during the bay of pigs after Castro took over. I always knew that I had to go to College and become something, so twice was nothing. She taught me to never ever stop learning, never be stagnant, always be eager to improve, and never assume that you know it all, and be the first to admit that you’ve made an error.

How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?

I feel that anything goes within reason, that some of the most amazing things in life happened by pure accident, that anything is possible, and almost anything is worth trying at least once (within reason of course!) I encourage difference; I realize that everyone’s likes are different and that people like their things a certain way. I understand that if I’m not wild about it, other’s may be passionately in love with it. I get wild hairs all the time, depending on my mood. I come up with some crazy stuff, and find that it was an awesome wild hair. I feel like everyone makes mistakes, or learns how not to make mistakes rather. I encourage research, education, then their artistic kick!

Which is most important to your organization-mission, core values, or vision?

Core values are definitely the most important. We feel that our bodies are our temples. We are entrusted with only one in our lifetime. Therefore, we must take care of it the best way that we know how. We feel that we should respect ourselves enough to do things the right way, on the inside and the out, to ourselves and to others. We feel that if we respect ourselves, are honest, transparent, trustworthy, are peaceful, pleased, and thankful, it’s much much easier to be that way to others. We greet our customers with a smile upon our faces, eager to assist, with an open ear, eye, and heart. We are constantly improving, trying new things, and adding to the inventory, because that is what our customers have asked for. We strive to have a personal relationship with our clients and value their input.

We run everything based on the recycle, reduce, reuse notion. We try to use recycled materials, we use the highest quality and purest ingredients in our products. We do our best to help others and the community by constantly helping out non-profit organizations, such as schools, churches, cancer society, and other various organizations in our community. We take care of litter patrol, offer our assistance with the food bank, humane society, and anyone else who asks us to step in. And we offer delivery to our clients for those unable to come to the store themselves.

How do you encourage others in your organization to communicate the “core values”?

I tell all of my employees “the customer is always right. Even if the customer is not right, they are right.” I also tell them that if they’re in a bad mood, to take a time out or leave and come back when they can greet the customer with a smile and be helpful, positive, and encouraging. I tell them that it’s about them, it’s not about us. And if someone comes in and is unpleasant, they need someone to be positive and encouraging more than anyone. I teach them that confidentiality is of the utmost importance, that some of the people that come in speak of very personal issues. I try to teach them to live and work by example, to take care of themselves, always be friendly, clean, and treat the customers that it’s them that ultimately matter. It’s not about money, fame, competition, or anything else. They come in for a reason, and we are here to help them in some way!

Do you set aside specific times to cast vision to your employees and other leaders?

NO. I constantly encourage our employees to engage in conversation and offer assistance whenever possible. I also encourage them to offer answers to any questions about anything that may have.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

I think every effective leader that has ever influenced me personally had great compassion in their ability to lead. They are eager to help, learn, understand, listen, and teach others to become compassionate and successful themselves.

What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Sadly enough, I feel like the biggest challenge facing leaders today is money. Period. If money were not the main goal, fuel, before and afterthought, there would never be a reason to not think about the customer. If leaders did what they did because they thoroughly enjoyed it, thinking of others, there would be an awesome greatness in our society. There would be less arrogance, selfishness, rudeness, competition, and utter disregard for others feelings. There would be more compliance, encouragement, passion, drive, and success in everyone and not just the leaders. Leaders that lack consideration for the customer, employee, etc with only thinking about how to increase numbers, fail.

What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?

I feel that the one trait that derails leaders is the lack of transparency. Leaders that act like they have something to hide, are dishonest, that don’t stay true to themselves and others, fall quicker than others. The leaders that don’t practice arrogance, dishonesty, lack of compassion, are the ones that thrive and succeed in anything they do in their personal and business life.

Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and the web has made on your organization or you personally?

Social media is an awesome FREE tool that many businesses still do not utilize, not knowing how powerful it can be! Everyone is on social media nowadays. And people are eager to share their experiences with friends and family, and even the public. Word of mouth is THE most powerful advertisement for any company or growing business. When someone has a positive experience, others want to experience the same! And when that positive experience is consistent, people take note of that and want to be a part of that. Then they will do their best to have the ones closest to them enjoy it as well. Social media and networking is a whole new world that never existed before, and is great for us small business owners that don’t have a chance to get out into the real world much!

Tashia and Tashi Soap Company will be at our Maximum Impact Leadercast event on May 8th. As a sponsor, she will have a table set up and our guests can stop by to visit and learn more about her efforts to provide all natural, quality products.