Create a Better Work Environment as an Authentic Leader with Clare Clough

It’s International Women’s Day! What better way to commemorate this day than by celebrating our true and authentic selves?

As leaders, it can be challenging to be completely authentic in the workplace — that applies for all of us, not just women. We fear that revealing too much of ourselves might invalidate us. However, showing your authenticity and vulnerability can be good for others and your business! So how exactly can we be a more authentic leader? 

In this episode, Clare Clough joins us to talk about improving your work environment by bringing your authentic self. We discuss how you can look after yourself and others. Clare also shares the lessons that made her a stronger leader and her absolute secret to success.

If you want to learn more about the key to creating better work environments, then tune in to this episode.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Discover how being an authentic leader can improve your work environment and grow your business. 
  2. Learn how to maintain energy and resilience for yourself and others.
  3. Find out Clare’s absolute secret to success. 


Episode Highlights

[03:02] Clare’s Top 3 Proudest Moments

  • First, Clare is proud of going to university and having a clear path by pursuing a Food Technology course.
  • Second, she’s proud of being appointed UK Managing Director at Pret A Manger despite not coming from an operations background.
  • Lastly, Clare is proud that their business could bounce back from the pandemic’s challenges. 

[13:41] How to Be an Authentic Leader

  • Listen to your co-workers. The only way to learn about people is to listen.
  • Create an environment where people are comfortable with being authentic and vulnerable.
  • Connect and empathise with people to be a more effective leader.

[19:03] Maintaining Energy for Yourself and Others

  • Your reserves of resilience can only take you so far.
  • Find that balance of conserving energy and putting it in the right places. Looking after yourself enables you to look after others. 
  • Be thoughtful and sensitive to what people need, but also recognise when to apply pressure or expectations.
  • Cultivate a culture of openness in your work environment to allow positive peer-to-peer support.

[24:25] Being a Stronger Leader and a Better Human

  • For Clare, being in a job that she loves allows her to perform well. She enjoys the job she’s currently in before thinking about the next opportunity.
  • Ask for feedback and learn from mistakes. 
  • Do not wallow on your mistakes: this can be counterproductive and detrimental to your well-being. 
  • Conversely, accept that mistakes are going to happen to make it easier to bounce back from them. 
  • When faced with adversity, finding a way to go forward is the best thing you can do.

[30:38] What Traits to Look for in Other People

  • Look for people who can challenge your thinking.
  • Clare likes people who are different from her and can fill her blind spots.
  • She also looks for people who are similar to her and can play more of a cheerleader role.

[32:29] Keeping Your Mental Health in a Good Place

  • Working at home can blur work-life boundaries, so Clare doesn’t bring her phone in the bedroom.
  • Be kind to yourself by listening to yourself.
  • Forgive yourself if you weren’t able to follow your plans for the day. 

[34:06] The Best Coffee

  • Clare’s favourite coffee is Pret’s Oat Flat White.
  • Angela is a decaffeinated Coconut Flat White drinker. 

[36:43] The Absolute Secret to Success

  • For Clare, authenticity is the absolute secret to success in different avenues of life.
  • Being yourself brings better results more quickly in whatever situation. 

5 Powerful Quotes

[09:40] ‘It was also hugely significant because I was really the first person who hadn’t come from a pure operations background that had held that role previously. So I felt really proud when people sort of talk to me about what you’ve broken a bit of new ground here as well.’

[10:49] ‘The most important thing was to just get close to the people in our shop.

[14:07] ‘I wanted to create an environment for everyone in practice, to authentically be able to ask for help and stuff that they didn’t know to know that it was possible to grow your career.’

[21:33] ‘So one of the values that I’ve always held dear to me, is always to treat people how you would like to be treated. And I think I’ve pulled on that a lot during the last year and, and tried to be thoughtful and sympathetic to people’s circumstances or where they are. . . we’ve all been through the curve at different times at different speeds for different reasons’

[26:56] ‘I still do that I still sometimes have that sort of plunge to a depth of despair of I’ll probably need to beat myself up for a week before I come up for it. But. . .you have to wonder what value that adds to you. And actually, it’s detrimental, isn’t it?’

About Clare 

Clare Clough is Pret A Manger’s UK Managing Director. She oversees over 400 shops and is responsible for leading Pret in its ambition to turn into a multi-channel business. 

In 2017, Clare led the development of Pret’s new brand concept, Veggie Pret. She also oversaw the incorporation of full ingredient labelling into Pret’s allergy plan. Clare has almost 20 years of experience in the Food & Beverage industry and is passionate about developing well-knit teams.  

Want to know more about Clare’s work? You may connect with her through LinkedIn. If you want to learn more about Pret, visit their website.  

Enjoy this Podcast?

Maintaining a good work environment became more challenging because of the pandemic. But with Clare’s tips, you, too, can make yourself better to establish a harmonious workplace. If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Mindset Mentor Meets…, then hit subscribe and share it with your friends!

Post a review and share it! If you enjoyed tuning into this podcast episode, then don’t hesitate to write a review. You can also share this with your family and friends so they can feel empowered to be their authentic selves!

Have any questions? You can contact me through LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for listening! 

For more updates and episodes, visit my website. You can also tune in on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Podbean

To meeting inspiration,