Calaway, vice president and chief human resources officer (CHRO) at BorgWarner, admitted being taken aback when she received an memo from an executive at Harley-Davidson. At the time she served as corporate counsel and would eventually rise to CHRO of the firm before joining BorgWarner, an automotive parts supplier.
“I received an interoffice memorandum from an executive about ways that I could improve my work attire by dressing more professionally,” Calaway wrote for Fortune. “I knew I needed to do it, but it was still difficult hearing someone critique my appearance.”
Calaway did extensive research on fashion and determined that “no one was ever going to tell me again that I didn’t dress well.”
“While it’s still never easy to hear criticism, my attitude toward receiving it has changed over time,” she wrote. “I’ve realized that constructive criticism can and often does help me to improve in my job. I always say that it’s at the exact moment in your career when you think you’ve got it made that you need to stop and take inventory of what you don’t have. In short, a little humility goes a long way.”