I finally saw Sheryl Sandberg’s Ted Talk about “leaning in” at work. I’m not sure if she was promoting the book or if that talk gave her the impetus to write a book. Anyway, I didn’t think I was the target audience since it’s a bit late in my career to lean in, but her talk was very inspiring.
First of all, she was surprisingly funny. It’s not that I wouldn’t have enjoyed her talk if she was simply straight-forward but I just didn’t expect a laugh along the way.
Secondly, and most importantly, even if you’re not out to super-charge your career, I think she has valuable advice for all.
One thing I got out of that talk is the obstacles faced by female bosses. In general, people prefer to work under males. There’s an unfair perception that women are worse bosses. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you have to be tougher and more aggressive as a woman to climb to the top. Men have to be aggressive to climb up, too, but I do see a wider range of options for them and they can seem more relaxed at the top.
I have had my share of good/bad bosses. While I really enjoy working for my male bosses, my female boss was the only one who mentored and promoted me. I don’t think that’s too uncommon and that’s why I think more women at the top could eventually help all women.
On the same topic, I came across a Business week magazine article about a group of Dads at Deloitte who are trying to “lean out”. It was an interesting take on a new generation of men who want more time with their kids and family. It’s still not a widely-accepted notion but I do think and hope that the next generation will adopt more family-friendly and flexible policies that create a work/life balance for all.