52 Books - Book 2

Lean In:Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Even though the target audience for this book is women, it is loaded with insight about working inside organizations and navigating the choices involved in leading both a career and a family.

I am sure I will be quoting and reflecting on this book all year long. Ms. Sandberg is surprisingly open with her own experiences and the stories have given me a chance to see how she has led her own career and inspired others to make their own individual choices.She doesn’t sugar-coat the choices that, we who are watching from afar think, she makes look easy.

The leadership process really is a series of individual choices.As we leaders make choices, we are setting up a dynamic where others ultimately make their own individual choices.The premise of the whole book comes from a story she tells in the introduction about having Leymah Gbowee, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, to her home for a book party. Ms. Gbowee was selected for the prize because she helped to lead women’s protest that toppled Liberia’s dictator.Sandberg says:

We were celebrating the publication of her autobiography, Mighty Be Our Powers, but it was a somber night. A guest asked her how American women could help those who experienced the horrors of mass rapes of war in places like Liberia. Her answer was four simple words, “More women in power.” Leymah and I could not come from more different backgrounds, and yet we have both arrived at the same conclusion.Conditions for all women will improve when there are more women in leadership roles giving strong and powerful voice to their needs and concerns.

This point lingered with me as I read each chapter. I like many women, resist the idea of enduring the trade off one has to take when they strive to reach top leadership roles.If you fall into this mindset, I encourage you to read her arguments and consider the possibilities for the world she proposes we will have when women hold 50% of the leadership roles in all our institutions.

Have you read the book?Please share your thoughts.

Every week during 2014 I look forward to sharing books that I am reading.The lens of the leadership process will be the filter for which to discuss books.