In Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book, Lean In, she states that ‘leaning in’ means to “[be] ambitious in any pursuit” (10). The following 200 pages is a call to action- one that asks every woman, and, for that matter, every leader, to forget about what people say they cannot do and reminds them to be wildly successful. It is a unique read and I found myself relating to her personal stories, humorous encounters, and frustrating situations more often then I expected.
I also found many similarities to how we discuss Values Based Leadership. We say, “Living, working, and leading in alignment with your core values, beliefs, and principles ignites the human potential of those around you.” We are helping individuals, teams, and organizations find ways to be more intentional about who they want to be and helping them articulate those messages and actions. Sandberg is asking us to do the same thing- for us, primarily women, to take the opportunity to reach any level of success in any environment we please. She also advocates that leaders need to help create the space that allows the potential of others to be reached- regardless of gender.
As leaders, this means we need to proactively understand the goals and ambitions of our constituents. Even if we are not in formal leadership roles, we need to step up and take the lead- we must voice our concerns and needs. We must to pave the way for those who come after us, helping them have a more positive working experience because we were confident enough to lean in.