Four things Sheryl Sandberg taught me - Women's Agenda

Four things Sheryl Sandberg taught me

A friend recently asked me if she should ‘lean in‘ regarding a salary issue at work. Apparently I have been living under a rock because I had to admit to not knowing what she meant. She then told me about Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg’s book which was published in March this year. My interest was captured, so I raced to the library, borrowed it and read it from cover to cover. I am so glad I did.

Sheryl Sandberg is currently the COO of Facebook and infamous for her 2010 TEDTalk about why we have too few women leaders. Since finishing her book I have had many conversations with other career women and men and discovered that Sheryl Sandberg has taught me four things.

End the stigma and increase support

“Today, despite all of the gains we have made, neither men nor women have real choice. Until women have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share family responsibilities, they don’t have a real choice. And until men are full respected for contributing inside the home, they don’t have real choice either.” Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

It is not enough to end the stigma for career-orientated women, we also need to end the stigma for the stay-at-home-dad, the man who vacuums, does the dishes and sews holes in socks. Individuals’ choices, both men and women, need to be wholeheartedly supported by employers, colleagues and partners.

We need to be striving for equality for everyone.

Never underestimate yourself

You need to be your biggest fan and believe in yourself. Recognise your skills and the good things about yourself. When you look you will discover there are lots! Looking at the things you do well, will help you feel more comfortable doing other things too.

Give yourself permission to strive and do something new. Even if you have never done something before, you can learn. You have learnt what currently do, haven’t you.

Own your successes

If someone compliments or acknowledges your successes, simply reply with thank you. You have earned it. Never bury it by saying you had help, worked hard or didn’t deserve it.

Don’t underestimate your achievements. They are your achievements, be proud of them – your parents probably are!

Sit at the table and Lean In!

Remember the famous line from Dirty Dancing: “No-one puts baby in a corner”? It still rings true and it applies to you; never put yourself in the corner. While possibly daunting at first, make sure you contribute. Even if others are quick to talk over you or shoot down your ideas, sit at the table with them. Create a voice that will be heard and before you know it you will be leaning in.

My friend did read Lean In regarding her salary issue and was glad she did.

Have you read Lean In or seen Sheryl Sandberg’s TEDTalk? What are your thoughts? Do you ‘lean in’?

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