Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has been ranked among the world’s most powerful women, ahead of Sonia Gandhi and Michelle Obama. Does she look insecure to you? Should she?
She has had her insecurities, Sandberg writes in a book released Monday after an event-of-the-century build up, Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.
Sandberg’s day job, chief operating officer and the only adult at the social networking giant, doesn’t equip her for her basic argument: women need to close the leadership gap.
She is the boss at Facebook, second to Mark Zuckerberg. Who would not listen to her, or doubt her leadership skill, endorsed first by Google and now Facebook.
But she makes that other point well. Too well, in fact, for some, who fear the resumption of mommy wars because of her book, among other intended and unintended consequences.
Sandberg, 43, is among the few high-profile women executives attracting media attention, with Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, as those knocking cracks into a hardly opaque glass ceiling.
As senior at Harvard, Sandberg recalls preparing for a test in European intellectual history. Her brother, David, a neurosurgeon now, was taking the same test.
While Sandberg and her brainy roommate studied hard for it, David looked underprepared. But after the test, he seemed more confident. They all scored As in that paper. But Sandberg cites the incident as another example of women feeling under-prepared, un-qualified and unsure because of cultural baggage.
Sandberg is unsparing in her critique of the world around her for making women seem less equipped. Lean in, she says, and don’t be afraid of your ambition.