Sharing is caring, and in 2016, most working women are forward thinking enough to know that helping each other out will accelerate our goal for equality in the workplace, more so than vicious competing and backstabbing. Whilst not everyone is so enlightened, most who are older and wiser are willing to lend a helping hand to the younger generation, and we’re all too grateful to them! Here, some of the world’s most inspiring women share their hard-earned advice for us all to take on board.
Anna Wintour – You don’t know everything, which is why you need to hire people who do
There’s no doubt this woman is a powerhouse – she’s currently juggling posts as Artistic Director at Conde Nast as well as Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, the fashion world’s most followed publication both off- and online. What we love about Anna is that she’s intelligent, quick-witted and humble. To wit, she admitted in her Oxford Union speech that when digital disrupted the industry, she soon realised that what works for print would not for online, and therefore hired people who could do what she couldn’t.
The takeaway? Sometimes the first step to success is remembering that you are not the be all and end all, and that as a chief, you’ve got to recognise the limits of your knowledge and skill sets, and hire engaged employees who can fill those gaps.
Jessica Alba – Don’t be polite over being honest
There will be times at work when you’ll feel tempted to sugarcoat an issue rather than to be transparent and open. Ironically, the more indirect you are with your colleagues, the less they’ll trust you and your opinion if you ever are honest. Know your audience and remember that transparency and openness from the start will make for real and lasting relationships. Many start-ups, including Jessica Alba’s toxin-free household product and beauty company, operate on this principle with incredibly successful results.
Rachel Zoe – Professionalism is everything
Hollywood stylist extraordinaire Rachel Zoe shares that the biggest mistake she’s noticed other members of her industry making is bad-mouthing the competition. Following on from the previous point, it must be noted that there is a world of difference between being honest and being plain rude. Professionalism is everything, and you can be frank without causing drama and upsetting others. Employ tact whenever you have constructive criticism to give, and no matter what, remember that this is not your personal life but a professional environment. Competition is inevitable, but remember who you’re speaking to at all times and be mindful of what you’re saying as well as how you’re saying it.
Karlie Kloss – Never stop learning
Koder, kookie entrepreneur, philanthropist, Klossy YouTuber and supermodel as well as a student at NYU, Karlie Kloss is a living and breathing example of the fact that education only stops when you decide to stop being curious. From her habit of reading the Wall Street Journal whilst getting her hair and makeup done on shoots to turning her interest and passion for coding into an effort to help young girls get involved in a male-dominated and world-changing computer science industry, she is so much more than just a very, very pretty face.
Beyoncé -Not knowing how to sell yourself
Hey, we believe you’re amazing at what you do, but you need the ability to communicate that to others too! Queen Bey is an example of a woman who knows how to get about her business, but she admitted it hasn’t always been as easy as she makes it seem. In a documentary she directed, she shows how she has grown into her role as manager, producer and business woman alongside her already unbelievable talent as a stage performer. A lot of it comes down to self-belief, but there are practical steps you can take.
For instance, set a six-month reminder to yourself to update your LinkedIn profile and relevant digital presence with new skills, projects and attributes that you’ve been cultivating so that you can track your own progress, as well as show others what you’ve got to offer. It’s a great exercise as it’ll help you put into words and articulate in a concise manner the extent of your day-to-day contributions to your company, team and any stakeholders that you work with. This mental prep means that if you ever get into a chance encounter with a career fairy godmother, or get the chance to meet one of your career idols, you’ll be a little less tongue-tied!