Book Review: Lean In


I had the pleasure of reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, and these are some key points she made that struck a chord with me.

Mentoring

Mentors select protégés based on performance and potential – excel and you will get a mentor.

Feedback

Asking for input is not a sign of weakness but often the first step to finding a path forward.

  • Feedback is an opinion,  grounded in observations and experiences,  which allows us to know what impressions we make on others. Feedback, like truth, is not absolute.
  • When arguments turn into “she said/she said,” we all lose.

Career progression

Ladders are limiting … jungle gyms offer a more creative exploration.

  • I recommend adopting two concurrent goals: a long-term dream and an eighteen month plan.
  • Only one criterion matters when picking a job – fast growth.
  • In the medium-term what skill will I endeavour to learn?  Trying to over correct is a great way to find middle ground.

Women & Work

I truly believe that the single most important career decision that a Woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is.

  • When I don’t feel confident one tactic I’ve learned is that it sometimes helps to fake it. 
  • Owning one’s success is key to achieving more success.
  • One reason women avoid stretch assignments and new challenges is that they worry too much about whether they currently have the skills they need for a new role. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy since so many abilities are acquired on the job.
  • The months and years leading up to having children are not the time to lean back, but the critical time to lean in.
  • Anyone who wants her mate to be a true partner must treat him as an equal – and equally capable- partner.
  • If there is a new normal for the workplace, there is a new normal for the home too.
    Every job will demand some sacrifice.  The key is to avoid unnecessary sacrifice.
  • Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receives the encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible.
  • Gender should neither magnify nor excuse rude and dismissive treatment.  We should expect professional behaviour, even kindness,from everyone. We must work harder to rise above this. The gender wars need an immediate and lasting peace. True equality will only be achieved when we all fight the stereotypes that hold us back.

All in all, this was an awesome book to read and I read it at the read it at the right time in my career. At a time when I am changing jobs, looking to be more assertive at work and take some risks as well, looking at the horizon and deciding on whether I could maybe like to settle down and what that might look like. This book is a definite must-read. I will leave you with the sad quote below:

It is a painful truth that one of the obstacles to more women gaining power has sometimes been  women already in power.

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