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We’ve heard that women are bossy (or bitches or both) countless times in our lives in reference to a woman with high expectations and the drive to achieve her goals. Now if you take a woman who leads a successful company you get a slew of even more unpleasant name-calling. But why? If you think about it, the majority of people who are happy and successful in life and business have arrived in their positions because they’ve worked hard and have had a positive team around them. As much as we’d like to think other people’s decisions don’t affect us, it’s an irrefutable fact that humans are social creatures and we rely on others for support. Throughout my life I’ve come to realize the importance of nurturing myself and my passions but also those in my life that help me accomplish my goals. There will always be people ready to knock you down, but the way you brush the dirt off your Louboutins and how you treat people will always be the determinants of your success. Although they may have been hard lessons to learn, I’ve compiled a short but very important list of rules I hold very near and dear to my heart.

Always be gracious. Regardless of whether you are the newbie at a company or the CEO of a national corporation, thanking people who are in your life and acknowledging their contributions is a must. Showing appreciation to those around you (particularly the barista who always gets your latte just right) creates solid relationships and gives you the reputation of being a classy and courteous woman.

If you manage a team of people, use “we” instead of “I”. As a girl boss who is responsible for a large team it’s easy to take credit for any triumphant outcomes. In order to lead a happy and productive team, it is vital to share your successes. By sharing responsibility with everyone on your squad you create an inclusive environment where your staff will feel valued and will be more likely to happily contribute to the company.

Never burn bridges. My mother would always say, “You attract more bees with honey than vinegar.” But we all know it can be very hard to maintain that sweet disposition when other people are not cooperating. Even if telling someone off may seem ideal in the heat of the moment, you never know when those people will pop back into your life. Keeping your cool and remembering to respect others could be the difference between scoring a coveted seat at next year’s Fashion Week or catching the recap of Balenciaga’s fall line while you sit at home in your PJs.

Remember to give back. At the pinnacle of your success, when you need other people’s help the least is precisely the moment when you should give back the most. Take the time to recognize the people, organizations or communities that have gotten you where you are today. Not only does it send fabulous karma your way, but it also makes people proud to be associated with you and inspires future relationships, both personal and professional. When you pay it forward you’re helping another woman somewhere reach her designer dreams.

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