With Female-lead and founded companies reaching an all time high this year, women leaders are taking on the business world by storm. They have fought hard to expose disparity, close the gender pay gap and reach levels of seniority that were once unwelcome to women.
Looking back, they explain that not every piece of advice should be taken on board; rather it is important to have an excellent filtration system to keep away bad advice. Here’s some of the worst advice successful women have ever received.
“Don’t be nice and act superior to your team”
A strong believer in respect and empathy, Julia Von Winterfeldt, founder of SOULWORX says, “Had I followed the advice, I would have turned myself into a person I never was and I never wanted to be. Tapping into their emotions and connecting in a way that lets that person know you understand what it means to be in their situation is what I believe fosters collaboration in, and success of, any venture.”
“You shouldn’t be more successful than your husband”
A romantic partner exercises a big influence on one’s professional life and it is important to find the right one. Aline Santos, Global EVP Marketing and Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Unilever, fought back and said, “Some partners can be like a trampoline to your life; others can be like an anchor. You should surround yourself with positive people. People who want you to achieve your full potential and who will be proud of you — especially in public!”
“Skip the red lipstick and red nail polish”
Chief Brand Officer of Uber, Bozoma Saint John was told to avoid being so bold at the office since red stands out so much. She says that she did not question the superficiality of the statement but rather, “how bold I could be in the office. It made me wonder if my voice was too loud and my personality too big. What a mistake it would’ve been if I’d taken that advice and quieted myself. I would’ve made no dynamic contributions at all.”
“Why so enthusiastic, tone it down”
Becky Owen, Head of Digital Partnerships, EMEA for The Walt Disney Company, is a natural optimist and a passionate person and toning down her personality would make her doubt herself even more. She says, “If you spend five minutes with me, you will see I am a naturally passionate, inquisitive and outspoken person. I put my hand up at every chance I get and I truly work on leaning in.”
“If you quit your job, you’ll lose security and stability”
“I would advise my 22-year-old self not to be too hung up on following the ‘right’ path and to just ensure I’m moving forward and making progress and giving my all to whatever I do,” says Aisha R. Pandor Co-founder of SweepSouth. She would rather choose a great opportunity than being in a career where she is unhappy and unfulfilled.
So, imagine how different the business world would be if these trail-blazing women would have taken such bad advice.