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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 11, 2013
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Thirty years after the women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women's voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women's progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.
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Within a week of finishing it, I stood up to a male coworker who was minimizing and deflating everything I said in a meeting in front of my manager and colleagues. Pre book I probably would have just let it go and been deferential even though I knew I was right. I didn't back down on my position, but I remained calm and logical, and was still friendly. He on the other hand became angry and raised his voice. I asked him why he was becoming so emotional about he topic, and that question disarmed him completely. He said "you're right, I'm sorry." Later he came to my office and apologized again. I know he didn't like it, and I don't think his apology was sincere, but I know I at least gleaned some respect from him and my colleagues.
I later noticed in another meeting in which a female coworker and I were presenting, several male audience members kept interrupting us despite the fact that we were supposed to be teaching them the material. I finally stepped in and said "gentlemen, thanks for your insights but we're going to hold questions and comments until the end." They shut up.
I have finally recently been selected to attend a conference across the country with a select few other employees. I attribute this selection to my newfound confidence in my abilities and contributions to the organization, and I attribute that confidence to this book!
I think every working woman should read this (especially working mothers), and possibly more importantly, every manager, male or female, should read this book.
The best message to take from this book is to be aware of what is going on in the workplace. Take the opportunity to change the inequality. Don't wait for someone to "fix" things for you. When opportunities present themselves jump on them if it's what you want. Take control.