As the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and the first woman to sit on its Board, Sheryl Sandberg knows a thing or two about achieving career success. She has faced challenges and tackled personal insecurities on the road to the top.
Sandberg is the author of the best-selling book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead where she provides women with advice on how to “lean in” in order to get a seat at the table. The book has inspired the launch of over 33,000 career support groups for women around the world known as “Lean In Circles.”
Most recently, Sandberg published a second book titled Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, which she co-authored with Wharton Business School Professor Adam Grant. In Option B, she discusses how she coped with the death of her husband and shares advice on how to build resilience in the face of difficult times.
Sandberg is a leading voice who encourages women to push against the obstacles that might hold them back from attaining positions of power. Here are three (3) things Sandberg says women should do to be successful.
1) Take Risks: Women are less likely to volunteer for stretch assignments because they believe they must have all the qualifications for a job before they raise their hands for opportunities. Sandberg encourages women to step out and take risks. In Lean In, Sandberg writes: “At a certain point, it’s your ability to learn quickly and contribute quickly that matters. Women need to shift from thinking ‘I’m not ready to do that’ to thinking ‘I want to do that — and I’ll learn by doing it.”
2) Stop Worrying About Being Liked: Sandberg encourages women to seek positions of power, but she also provides a clear research supported warning: "success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women." In other words, the higher a woman climbs up the ladder of success, the less likeable she is considered to be. Sandberg encourages women to not let the “likeability penalty” hold them back from seeking positions of power. Rather than worry about being liked, women should focus on putting their best foot forward in all they do. She believes that having more women in visible leadership roles will slowly shatter traditional expectations about women and their role in the workplace.
3) Focus on Your Daily Successes: Following the death of her husband, Sandberg developed strategies to cope with her loss. She adopted a habit of focusing on her daily successes by writing them down at the end of a day. She encourages women to write down three things they did well at the end of every day. Sandberg points out that in the face of her adversity she lost confidence in her ability to make a meaningful contribution at work. But being able to reflect on her day and write down what went well helped her to regain her confidence and resilience during a very difficult time.
Ellie Nieves, JD, MBA, develops webinars, seminars, and coaching programs to help women show up, speak up, and step up in their careers and personal lives. She is also the host of the Leadership Strategies for Women Podcast where she shares success tips to help women achieve more both personally and professionally. To learn more, go to: www.EllieNieves.com.
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