April 10, 2013

Are we facing our individual circumstances with openness and clarity?

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of the recently published Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, addresses the unique challenges women face in achieving leadership:

“The very blunt truth is that men still run the world. I think [women] are stalled. And I think that we need to acknowledge that we’re stalled so we can change it.” -CBS News 60 Minutes interview with Norah O’Donnell, March 10, 2013

She is suggesting that women need to be candid with themselves, with other women, with their spouses and bosses. She goes on to say that women themselves are, in fact, part of the problem – that we are holding ourselves back, lacking the confidence to be forthright in asking for responsibility and stepping up to leadership roles.

“Women, in general, sit off to the side of the room, and they don’t speak up. I do it sometimes, too. We have to make sure women know their voices are important.” – O, The Oprah Magazine, April 2013

In the book and in interviews, she offers advice to women everywhere, at any stage in life or career:

– To be confident in their capabilities

– To seek out, ask for and agree to leadership roles

– To speak up and speak out

When women choose candor – candor  with whom they work and candor with themselves it will help overcome the things Sandberg suggests are holding women back – embarrassment of success, insecurity about capabilities, and quietness in the boardroom. It starts with being honest about what you want, bold in asking for it, and dedicated to earning what you deserve – both in pay and in responsibility.

Considering your unique circumstances, how can candor serve you well? Or, how might you affect your circumstances by practicing candor?