How to Succeed as a Woman Leader

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook since 2008, and former Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, gives a great talk at TED.

Sandberg’s talk is on why women are not making it to the top of organizations here in the US and globally.  Women comprise only seven to twenty percent of top-level leadership positions (C-suite or Boards).  This is clearly unacceptable.  Fortunately, Sheryl doesn’t blame men or women.  Both are to blame.  Rather, she focuses on why, and what women can do about it.  (There’s plenty men need to do too, but she doesn’t go there in this talk.)

Sheryl talks about three actions that women leaders can take.

  1. Sit at the table
  2. Make your partner a real partner
  3. Don’t leave before you leave

Sit at the table is literally about siting at the table during meetings.  Don’t sit on the sidelines to listen.  And “sit at the table” means engage, be proactive, ask or even demand to be a part of what’s going on.  Put your hand up.  Don’t give up.  Be persistent.

Make your partner a real partner is about negotiating or demanding a fair balance in the work that happens at home.  Households with equal responsibility have half the divorce rate of those with unequal responsibilities.

Don’t leave before you leave is about the actions women take before they leave the workforce to have children.  Don’t start ramping down work responsibilities too soon.  Keep your foot on the gas pedal all the way until you leave on maternity.

Since she doesn’t describe what men need to do, send me your thoughts (!


About Curt Buermeyer

I am the founder and president of LeadPeople. I hope you enjoyed this post and encourage you to subscribe to receive these in your inbox. Thanks for visiting!

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