Learn the Art of Leadership from Sheryl Sandberg

The ability to lead has always been a prized asset, and there have often been debates on whether great leaders are born or made. Effective leadership successfully moves us from one point to another, navigating around obstacles that are in the path. Therefore, it is important to learn the art of leadership, and who better to learn them from than Sheryl Sandberg, a born leader, and Chief Operating Officer at Facebook. People started taking note of Sandberg when she gave a TED talk on “Why we have too few women leaders” in 2010. And she gained more prominence when she published her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead in 2013.

 

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5 Leadership Lessons from Sheryl Sandberg

 

Articulate a powerful vision: The greatest leaders have powerful visions and are able to influence others, winning them over to their point of view. Sheryl 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. She articulates her vision by taking it public and using her power and influence to get her message out.

 

Speak up about things that matter to you: The greatest leaders have the courage to stand up for the causes that they believe in. Sheryl Sandberg dedicates much of her time to gender issues, and she developed a strong point of view for her cause. To get an audience for her cause, she went live and public by giving the talk “Why we have too few women leaders” at TEDWomen 2010, and wrote the book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which became an international bestseller. She also spoke at various conferences, shared her strategies for making it to high level positions in the workplace, and currently serves on the board, Women for Women International.

 

Getting to the top is not a straight line up: Many aspire to be a leader, taking an upward trajectory straight to the top. That may have been the case in the past, but that seldom works in flattened organizational structures. Sheryl Sandberg says, “A jungle gym scramble is the best description of my career.” A jungle gym is a piece of playground equipment that is a structure of joined bars or logs on which children can sit, hang or climb to the top. For more women to rise to the most senior positions in organizations, like Sheryl Sandberg they have to do the jungle gym scramble.

 

Develop a thick skin: The greatest leaders face criticisms all the time, and not everyone will agree with the decisions they make, or the position they take on major issues in the world. Sandberg went live and public with her cause to get more women in senior positions, but not everyone agrees with her message and some have been very 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. Effective leaders know how to keep a level head.

 

Involve others: The greatest leaders know that the only way that they can achieve their vision is to involve others. Sheryl 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 attaining the leadership qualities exhibited by Sheryl Sandberg.

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