by Aubrey Blanche
Originally published: March 15, 2017
The MPW Insiders Network is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for, “What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?” is written by Aubrey Blanche, global head of diversity and inclusion at Atlassian.
It often seems like there is a new “best” piece of advice every few days, but the most impactful thing I’ve ever learned is hardly trendy. I started getting business advice around the dinner table, starting with lessons about how to give a proper handshake. But it was something far less tactical that has stayed with me.
The first time my dad took me to his office—I couldn’t have been more than five years old—he introduced me to his assistant. After we went to her office, he looked at me and said, “I want you to remember something about the person you just met: She is the most important person in this office, and you should treat her like it.” Now, he was her boss, and the general counsel for the company, so I assumed he couldn’t have meant that literally. But he lived those words: Over the next 15 years, I saw him consistently advocate for her, even going so far as to offer taking a pay cut so she could get a raise.