Sandberg, S (2015) Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, WH Allen, Croydon, UK
Sheryl Sandberg is Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook. Her book considers why women are rarely found in high-powered leadership roles. Writing from her view point, and drawing on examples of other high-profile women, she addresses women offering suggestions to help empower them to reach their potential.
Lean In discusses the premise that men fundamentally believe they can have a personal life and a successful professional life. On the other hand, women consider this mix to be difficult, or impossible to accomplish. She explains that women are conditioned by society to get married and have children. The emphasis of the book is that women need to take control and make their own opportunities. She explains that there is no ‘right’ next step when ‘looking for the next big thing to do’.
Lean In also explores the requirement for women to be ‘nice’ and to tread the fine line of being feminine and being a leader. Many senior women discussed in the book have suffered from insecurity – could they achieve? The book suggests men have no such issues. The book covers many anecdotes based on the authors own situation and of other women leaders. Women everywhere will be able to relate to many of the stories.
Gender bias comes under scrutiny too, with evidence showing that that when comparing identical CVs from males and females both sexes will score the males CV higher. This gender bias causes women to have to work harder to achieve the same as men.
The book shares ideas on how to be more assertive. Women and men can both learn tips for dealing with situations where more dominant people cause the reader to play a submissive role, rather than feeling empowered to interact. Definitely a book worth dipping into.