#NZLEAD RECAP: Review of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

We all seem to agree that it is tougher for woman to progress to leadership positions. Men, generally speaking, do have less pressure when it comes to working and raising a family. More often than not, they don’t have to take breaks in their career and are more supported in their decision to work, rather than raise a family.

This is not just an issue of societal pressures on woman, family life, the ‘glass-ceiling’ or the boys club. As woman, we’re actually not doing ourselves any favors. Let’s stop blaming the blokes. Because when you break it down a lot of this problem actually lies with us, and by us I mean WOMAN. We need to take ownership of these issues.

A lot of the time we are not actually seen as effective leaders. We either take on a masculine style or are ineffective because we’re easily threatened by whippersnappers. In the hard fight for leadership roles, we are forgetting that we need to be comfortable empowering leadership in other woman. We are creating a glass ceiling, just as much as men.

Also, woman need to stop judging each other for the decisions that they make! It is not our business to dictate the decisions of other woman in respect to their career and family. Look at the uproar around Marissa Mayer. If that’s what works for her, then how is it our business to get up in arms about it?

How does this judgement behavior encourage others to stick their necks out and go for the things that would normally be “a mans job” or “not woman like”? Sheryl’s experiences shows us that, as a woman, she felt reluctant to voice her success or go for things that woman don’t necessarily do for the fear of being judged or “not liked”. If we, as woman, don’t stop judging each other, how will we ever move forward and be successful in the pursuit of equality in all aspects of life?

Both men and woman agree that woman don’t go for roles that we perceive we are un-qualified for. This is a barrier for progression to leadership roles. If we don’t put our hand up and take the opportunity to close skill gaps, we will never be seen as confident or willing to learn. Men are confident and want to be seen as successful, so they take jobs that they haven’t done before and they excel (not all, but most). We need to step up, take a job where we might not tick all the boxes and just do it!

The bottom line is if we’re getting the right woman into leadership positions then they can develop the next generation of female leaders.

The evolution starts here.