A few months ago I posted the following picture to twitter:
And yet, for some reason I didn’t actually start reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg until last week. It’s actually taken me a couple of days to start writing this post, because I was still trying to process the book itself.
My initial reaction is this: you know when you finish reading a book and you immediately feel something’s different? This book will do that.
For those who don’t know Sheryl Sandberg, she is the COO of Facebook. That being said, when I first heard of the book I was a bit skeptical. Clearly the woman has some leadership qualities, or she never would have made it where she has, but what does that have to do with being female?
Needless to say, I am now a believer.
Sandberg goes beyond what has already been said by other authors and uses a touch of personal stories (her own and those of others) to make the book more significant. The focus is not so much on why women get paid less than men, but what women can do to put themselves on a more even playing field, both professionally and at home.
Since I’m still having difficulty putting into words by thoughts on this book, I figured I should share some of the quotes I had highlighted while reading.
Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technology officer:
There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO:
When you want to change things, you can’t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress.
Eric Schmidt, Google CEO:
When companies grow quickly, there are more things to do than there are people to do them. When companies grow more slowly or stop growing, there is less to do and too many people to not be doing them. Politics and stagnation set in, and everyone falters. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.
The Early Child Care Research Network (1991):
Exclusive maternal care was not related to better or worse outcomes for children. There is thus, no reason for mothers to feel as though they are harming their children if they decide to work.
And some of her own:
Whenever a married woman asks me for advice on co-parenting with a husband, I tell her to let him put the diaper on the baby any way he wants as long as he’s doing it himself. And if he gets up to deal with the diaper before being asked, she should smile even if he puts that diaper on the baby’s head. Over time, if he does things his way, he’ll find the correct end. But if he’s forced to do things her way, pretty soon she’ll be doing them herself.
Gender should neither magnify nor excuse rude and dismissive treatment. We should expect professional behavior, and even kindness, from everyone.
At the end of the day, Sandberg’s main message is crystal clear, take a seat at the table, and lean in!