How to be a powerful woman: Be yourself

BBC Powerful Women

The BBC have made a series of films called How To Be a Powerful Woman, featuring 15 of the Woman’s Hour Power List. Women such as artist Tracey Emin, athlete Tanni Grey Thompson and Alexandra Shulman share their experiences, advice and philosophy for a successful working life.

I particularly like the thoughts on being yourself. In these hard times there is lots of advice around for young people about how to be successful in an increasingly difficult job market. Empathy and authenticity are the two qualities I look for when working with, or employing people and are the things I try to drum into my children.

I have never understood women who are one person at work and another at home. For me you are who you are, at work and at home and it’s far easier to engage and collaborate in the work place if you are not constantly trying to be something you are not.

The same rules apply to dressing for work, as the below film confirms. There’s no point in dressing in power suits if you love feminine clothes and power heels simply wont work if they make you hobble like a drag queen.

Maybe some women still feel like they need to act like men in order to be taken seriously – who knows. For me female qualities (and I am definitely not talking about sex appeal here) are the things that make women great managers. The (only) two female bosses I have most admired in my career were genuine, empathetic and absolutely female in their approach – they are also two of the most successful women in the fashion industry and now very good friends.

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