Lean In and Stretch – Exercises for Women’s Advancement

Sheryl Sandberg has written a ‘self help’ book for modern times. She offers practical advice for anyone who has a job- whether it be someone gunning for the corner office, or an individual wanting to do the best job possible in whatever position currently held.

When her advice is reduced to its essence, she promotes a good work ethic. “Taking risks, choosing growth, challenging ourselves, and asking for promotions” is what she suggests. This along with showing initiative, good communication skills – a combination of appropriateness and authenticity, requesting advice and feedback, and a personal favorite ‘always follow up’ are all logical business tips.

But this book goes far beyond self help. Sandberg is sober in her assessment that besides taking an active role in personal betterment we face some large obstacles at this moment of our history.

A deeply entrenched barrier resides within the current male-dominated leadership. Sandberg urges “more men to become part of the solution by supporting women in the workforce and at home.” I was thrilled to read ‘If society truly valued the work of caring for children, companies and institutions would find ways to reduce these steep penalties and help parents combine career and family responsibilities’. This is what we as a country need to digest to integrate career advancement and family dynamics.

Second is a cultural challenge- “from an early age, girls get the message that they will have to choose between succeeding at work and being a good mother”. Dual income families have more balanced lives when each partner contributes to the household. She wisely suggests that anyone who wants her mate to be a true partner must treat him as an equal- and equally capable- partner.

We live in exciting times. An evolution has begun. While challenging, confusing and awkward now, this energy shift will result in corporations yielding higher profits- as it’s shown that diverse leadership leads to a more lucrative bottom line. Our daughters and sons will enjoy more fulfilled partnerships and lives. They will choose partners using different criteria, and fulfill roles due to strength not tradition. This empowering book is a great step in women’s advancement.

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