How to Be a Woman in a Man's World: Lessons from Sheryl Sandberg

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Sheryl Sandberg has long served as an inspiration for women in the world of business. Here’s what she can teach all of us about being a woman in a man’s world.

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Sheryl Sandberg’s career has been nothing if not impressive. In 2008, when she became Facebook’s chief operating officer, the company recorded losses of $56 million. After ten years under her leadership, it pulled in $22.1 billion in profits in 2018, with ad revenue growing by 38% in that year alone.

However, Sandberg has become even more well-known for her work in trying to boost women up the corporate ladder. Her 2013 book “Lean In” has inspired women throughout the business world, and she’s a fierce advocate of women’s rights in the workplace. Here are a few of the things she can teach us:

Be as confident as you deserve to be

 

In a TED Talk, Sandberg summed up the main reason she believes there aren’t enough female leaders in the business world:

If you ask men why they did a good job, they’ll say ‘I’m awesome’. If you ask women why they did a good job, what they’ll say is someone helped them, they got lucky, they worked really hard.

 

The issue is one of confidence. Sandberg believes men move up in their careers largely because they’re more willing to take credit for their successes, while women are less confident in doing so. However, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements. When you do a good job, make sure to say it was because you’re awesome.

Be resilient through setbacks

In a recent Business Insider video, Sandberg said:

We all face challenges. Some of them are big and huge and traumatic, and some of them are daily challenges. But we need resilience for all of it.

 

This is an important aspect of the business world, as there are going to be plenty of times when work gets hard and things start going wrong.

It’s important for women not to fall into the trap of letting setbacks get to them too much, because it can act as a barrier to the confidence that’s so important to progression. Train yourself to be resilient, dealing with problems and their consequences rather than avoiding or internalizing them.

Embrace your mistakes

In her newest book, ‘Option B’, Sandberg writes about a visit to a US Marine base where she witnessed mission debriefs wherein individuals were publicly called out for mistakes they made. It caused her to think about how taking responsibility for errors didn’t have to be a matter of humiliation, and could lead to improvements if done correctly.

If you cultivate an atmosphere where you feel safe making mistakes, you’ll be better able to address and rectify them. Don’t punish yourself or others for errors; the important thing is they’re identified and fixed. Embracing failure can improve your confidence and make you more likely to spur yourself onwards to business success.

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