Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, was named one of The World’s Most Powerful Women in the Forbes 2013 annual report. Her seminal book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, sold 140 million copies its first week in print. At the beginning of her book, Sandberg quoted statistics on the status and condition of women around the world, and despite our progress toward gender equality, it’s clear that we have a long way to go. She explained how women in the workplace behave in ways that hold us back and place us in weaker positions compared to our male counterparts, and how our work culture perpetuates this imbalance.
For me, the most important takeaway from reading the book was the realization that I’ve been too passive at work. I used to believe that I had to possess a specific set of experiences and qualifications before moving into greater leadership positions, and that I was supposed to wait to be tapped on the shoulder and invited to take on more responsibility. For years I had been working diligently and waiting to receive a promotion and the recognition that I was valued and seen as a leader. Instead, others (mostly men) have been promoted, some of whom lacked experience and had poor leadership skills; yet they were bold and vocal about what they wanted. If I wanted to be seen as a leader, I needed to become a leader, despite what knowledge I felt I lacked. If you haven't read her book, add it to your list of must reads! It's an important body of work for women everywhere.