My solution? Give up.
I decided to give up after listening to a female Senior VP of an electronics company in Singapore. And instead of leaving feeling empowered and enthusiastic, I left furious. A little illustration of her advice:
“Men don’t know how to manage women, so they have trouble promoting women – what would they do once the women is promoted? That’s why it’s up to us (as women) to show men how to work with us.”
Ugh – such BULLSHIT!
Diversity is beneficial, so set quotas and meet them. We know racism isn’t beneficial, so we set equal opportunity laws and keep them. We didn’t wait until everyone felt ready and had seen the merits of equal opportunity proven. We enforce the law even if the employer is a racist.
So why did this make me give up on searching for a great female leader and her advice?
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I finally understood it.
The advice we need won’t come from one female leader, one book, or one speech. We had the crazy, overtly sexualised feminism of Helen Gurley Brown up against the militant, man repelling feminism of Gloria Steinem in the 70s. And neither of them had it right! Today, woman practice feminism from all of the spectrum, having equal expectations of great sex, great career, equal rights, and equal pay.
We need to do the same in our search for advice on our careers. No one leader has the answer, but we can certainly piece together an answer that works ourselves.
Give up on finding the key – start finding the pebbles to smash the glass.
What is some of the worst advice you’ve ever received from a female leader?
Or if you’re a guy, what is some of the worst advice you’ve ever heard, given by a female leader to women, that would just never work?