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The Art of Leaning in Leadership

It’s important for anyone to understand the art and science of leadership, and Sheryl Sandberg has created a body of work that can teach everyone


From Leaning In to Option B, Sheryl Sandberg has experienced extreme highs and lows in her career and life. Through it all, she’s demonstrated how to lead with confidence, honestly, vulnerability and effectiveness.

The Chief Operating Officer at Facebook created a public platform for herself with a TED Talk calling for more women in leaders roles. The lead to her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. At the height of her success, she experienced personal tragedy when her husband died suddenly. She learned from this experience and shared the lessons in her book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.

Here are lessons in leadership from Sandberg’s career so far.

  • Articulate a powerful vision

    Sandberg’s vision is to place more women in high power positions. She recognizes the obstacles that women face in the workplace, and that not all women will have the opportunities she received that propelled her career. She advises women to take responsibility for their career progression by taking risks and advocating for their best interests.

  • Speak up about what matters

    The greatest leaders have the courage to stand up for causes they believe in. Sandberg dedicates time speaking up on gender issues, including her successful TED Talk and book, speaking at conferences, sharing strategies for making it to high level positions in the workplace, and serving on the Women for Women International board.

  • Develop a thick skin

    The greatest leaders face criticisms all the time. Sandberg went live and public with her cause to get more women in senior positions, but some have been vocal with their criticisms. Many do not agree that women leaning into their careers is a feasible strategy, and Sandberg has always responded with grace and professionalism to her harshest critics.

  • Involve others

    The greatest leaders know that the only way that they can achieve their vision is to involve others. Sandberg knows that if she wants to realize her dream of placing more women in more senior positions, she has to involve others, and she has done that by encouraging women to be more proactive in their career by stepping up, leaning in and owning their own success.

Effective leadership takes courage, but the good news is everyone is capable of learning from the leadership qualities exhibited by Sheryl Sandberg.

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