Linda Hudson is a trailblazer. When she got her engineering degree from the University of Florida, she was the only woman in her class.
She came up when it was much harder to be a woman in the workplace than it is today. There was plenty of sexual harassment, but no sexual harassment laws. As she told the NY Times, “There was nothing you could do, but find a way to cope and find a way to make things happen.”
When she was promoted to president of Land and Armaments Group at BAE Systems, Linda Hudson become the first woman president of a major defense contractor. Her second day on the job, she learned something just about every boss learns. It happened this way.
To celebrate her promotion, she bought some new suits. Naturally, she wore one on that first day as president. She wore a new scarf, too, tied in an unusual way.
The next day she ran into “no fewer than a dozen women in the organization who have on scarves tied exactly like mine.” That’s when she realized that people were watching everything she did and taking it as a guide for what they should do.
That is the Linda Hudson Rule. No matter who you are, if you’re the boss the people who work for you will watch you like a hawk for clues about how they should act. It’s your responsibility to send the right message.