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Dr. Haws Recommended Read for July 2016

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

I admit to putting off reading Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. However, after picking it up to during a recent long airline flight, I found this book and the subjects Sandberg takes up around women in leadership and women aspiring to leadership roles to resonate with and enlighten my own experience as a leader and as a woman in leadership.

In particular, I’d recommend a few chapters or concepts: 

  • First, 'LEANING IN' to the work. Sitting present at the table as a full and equal partner and speaking up is important for leaders, and women often lean back, sit back and don’t want to come on as too strong, too pushy, too bossy. 
  • Straightforward, single-lane steps defined as 'career ladders' are not the descriptor for how one moves into and through a career. Rather, our careers develop and grow through varied experiences that look more like a climb on a jungle gym than a straight to the top ladder.
  • My favorite takeaway from this book is the big question Sandberg insists we ask ourselves often:  “What would you do if you were not afraid?” We all know what we should do, what work we need to focus on, what big changes we need to lead, and we stall, avoid, ignore or rationalize away that work because we are afraid, don’t want to seem too strong, too heavy-handed or be unpopular.
  • For younger women considering career, marriage and childrearing demands, Sandberg offers lots of insight and examples to give food for thought.

I highly recommend this easy and practical read to women in leadership, women beginning their careers with an eye to leadership and men who love or work with capable women and want to support their career success.