I wrote a blog several months about the changing role of women in leadership. Soon after, I got a copy of Lean In, Women, Work, and The Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook. I really respect the person who sent it to me, but I was curious why she chose to send it. I’ve worked with many great women entrepreneurs and leaders.
I thought I knew how they thought and how I could help leverage their strengths to build an extraordinary business. After I read Sheryl‘s book, I have a different perspective on what it takes for women to excel in business and in life.
I’d like to share several key ideas to give you a great preview to what’s in the book and why it impacted my thinking and that of my best clients. Hopefully, it impacts your thinking, as we help the next generation of women lead in this changing world. If you have daughters, buy them a copy of this book and share it with them. Each chapter could lead to a discussion about the past, present, and where can they go from here.
In first chapter called” The Leadership Ambition Gap,” Sheryl Sandberg takes on many of the challenges our society has placed on women in society. She shares her own life experiences and the elephant in the room about women choosing to become leaders against a backdrop of our society’s expectations. The one keeper I took away from this chapter was that exceptional leaders are willing to make the tough decisions. She shares a point of view that many women struggle because of the lack of great role models. She also shares her insights on why so few women in the past have moved to the top of organizations. Sheryl Sandberg calls it the leadership ambition gap and she shared a number of ideas that I’ve discussed with many of the leaders I work with in the military. If you want to lead you must be willing to take on the risk and opportunities that leadership requires. WOW. This has sparked many discussions with my clients over the years and has even expanded into our household at times.
The second dragon she slays is the myth of life balance. Sheryl Sandberg talks about the different expectations for men and women in our society. She points out that men expect to have life balance but women are told these is no possible way for them to achieve this balance. She asks the tough question “Who would ever choose work over life?” She then shares why she believes that women can have both and, as importantly, excel in both. Her approach is simple but the effect could be devastating if applied by either men or women.
The final word of advice from Sheryl Sandberg‘s first chapter is lean in. How do you have all you want in life? You must be willing to take chances, seize opportunities and lean in. I’ve only shared one chapter in her book there are ten more. All provide you great insights on what it takes to succeed in life and in business.
You can read the original blog at Why Women Entrepreneurs are Leading the Next Leadership Revolution!
Here’s what I’d like you do. If you’ve read the book, share what moved you to take action with our other readers in the Comments section below. If you want to remain anonymous, send me your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will compile them into a blog sharing the best ideas that come in. If you haven’t got a copy yet, go buy it or get it from your local library. I’d love to have you share with our readers what you found valuable here on Developing Serving Leaders blog.
If I get over 20 comments between the blog and letters, we can set up a bridge line so you can call in to talk with other people who have enjoyed the book. I believe this book is just that good, and it could change the way you lead today and how your daughters will lead in the future. Let me know what you think. See you next week