Helena Morrissey, like many working women, is a wearer of many hats. She may be one of the most powerful money managers in the United Kingdom, but she is also a mother to nine children – three boys and six girls, ages 9 to 26.
The head of personal investment at Legal and General Investment Management, which oversees nearly $1 trillion in assets, has one key piece of advice to her success at both home and work: Don’t lean in.
The advice is contrary to what Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has been doling out to corporate women for the better part of a decade in her own book, “Lean In.”
It’s not that Morrissey thinks women don’t belong in the boardroom or shouldn’t have a seat at the table — on the contrary, she thinks women through play to their own strengths rather than acting the way men do.
“If you are trying to get a seat at the table by leaning in, all the while suppressing what makes you you, any success is going to be limited,” Morrissey told CNBC.
— Helena Morrissey DBE (@MorrisseyHelena) June 27, 2018
Morrissey said that if you are working for a company that does not allow you to be your authentic self, it may be time to leave, using her own career as an example.
“My own career went from disappointing to a rapid journey to the top when I moved from a very traditional environment to a true meritocracy,” she said.
Other ways women can find success are by coming up with smarter ways of working and having allies in the office “who are prepared to use their own power to help you modernize and improve results,” Morrissey said.
“If ‘leaning in’ to the status quo means accepting inefficient working practices, endless meetings that waste everyone’s time, followed by long evenings actually getting the work done, call that out,” she said.
On top of it all, Morrissey has also written a book about women in the workforce and chairs the Diversity Project, which champions gender diversity – truly a woman who has found her own way to do it all.