Although social norms continue to evolve, when it comes to manning the post as a c-suite business executive, the number of women that hold top positions is still low when compared to men, and limitations at the workplace still exist based on gender. Fifty years ago, “The Feminine Mystique” shared the frustration of the suburban housewife. Nowadays, however, the expectation is that one can have more – a successful job and a family. One woman who has caught the attention of the media because of her strong voice on the matter is Sheryl Sandberg.
Sandberg is Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer and the author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Her book has sparked many conversations as it addresses concerns faced by women who are rising to the top of the corporate world and advocates asking for what you want and not standing behind the frontlines of business, government, and nonprofit leadership positions.
Here are a few takeaways for both men and women from the book.
- Speak out, yet stay human
Don’t be afraid to express your ideas and don’t hold back in the manner that many have been conditioned to do. However, stay human within the process – you are vulnerable and that’s okay.
- Seek smart mentors.
Learn from those who are seasoned within your industry and seek to build strong relationships. Don’t simply search for strangers – learn from those you know well and build off those relationships.
- It’s not about having it all.
Have balance between home and work life. You can’t have it all, but you can work efficiently to attain more.
According to Sandberg, writing her book is also an example of leaning in and making the decision to be ambitious and speak for women, despite the potential for criticism. Sandberg unleashes her potential for freedom by rising to an executive position, despite the low statistics for female leaders, and for inspiring many others to lean in.
How do you help to unleash potential for female entrepreneurs in your day-to-day?