Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg describes the dearth of women in high-level leadership positions in corporations, non-profits and government, and offers three pieces of advice on how to keep women in the workplace, help them rise to the top, and change those numbers. Her awesome TED talk is a must-see for parents, college students, and women already at work. It’s only 15 minutes—watch it.
Increasing female leadership isn’t just about evening out the numbers or equal rights. Layar co-founder Claire Boonstra argues competitive companies and sustainable governments today demand it. She writes:
To my (and Layarâ€™s) opinion, modern leadership has a lot of feminine elements. It is not so much about power, control, top-down thinking and ego, but much more about inclusiveness, intuition, the will to move ahead, looking for win-win (for both parties) rather than â€˜I win, you loseâ€™. Todayâ€™s society is changing and moving so quickly â€“ top-down thinking and leadership based purely on ratio is not sustainable. Organizations sticking to old principles and old styles of leadership will simply be bypassed by fast movers and disruptors.
Finally, on a lighter, Mad Men style note, This Recording’s hilarious essay written for women trying to make it in a boys’ club rang all sorts of bells for me. There are so many quotes worth pulling here, but let’s go with this one, which dovetails nicely with Sandberg’s “Sit at the table” bit:
Drive It Like You Stole It. Be the best. That is, assuming that you are the best. Be the best you can possibly be, whatever that means to you. Absolutely do not step down in order to not threaten people. Don’t apologize. If you genuinely f*cked up fine, you are allowed to apologize once but then stop apologizing. Think about how much you hear women apologizing for themselves for no reason, or being self-deprecating or self-abnegating out of habit. What the f*ck are you apologizing for? For being too good?
I don’t often discuss being a woman in technology; I’d rather just do something good and let that speak for itself. But when successful women have great advice for other women, it’s criminal not to share it.