Leaning In—Why all the Hype?

Oh how I wish I’d read Leaning In when I started my business career! I absolutely loved this book and the concepts it covered. I think it should be required reading for anyone interested in a career in business—men as well as women! Actually, the concept of leaning in doesn’t just apply to a business situation but can be used wherever you are in life! Sheryl Sandberg has given a new generation of women real encouragement to seriously pursue their career aspirations!

As an author, I am fascinated by all the hype around this book. Not many authors have a segment on 60 Minutes, interviews on all the morning shows, an appearance on “Katie” and so much more to launch a new book. Doesn’t hurt that this author is COO of Facebook but, in this case, the hype didn’t oversell the book! Ms. Sandberg has touched on a topic that we were ready to hear!

I have been guilty of “leaning back” when I should have been “leaning in”. I started my business career in the 70’s at a time when I was almost always the only woman in meetings or at conferences in my field. Now the HR field is very heavily populated by women except for some of the top positions in organizations! It wasn’t easy to always have to fight for a promotion. I remember one in my early career with a major retail firm where my boss got promoted, and I indicated I wanted to be considered for the position. I had been working in that department for over two years doing excellent work according to my performance reviews and feedback. When I threw my hat in the ring for the position, the VP said, “Oh, we never thought of you—do you really want to be a ‘career girl’”? I was stunned and said that I thought that my commitment to the job and the company should have been obvious. I didn’t get the job—they promoted a man and asked me to train him!

Why that story is significant is that, looking back on it, I don’t think I had been “”leaning in”. I would do it differently today. I would be sure that my accomplishments were noted and I would have been much more vocal about asking for assignments and projects to enhance my skill set. I think women today are much more likely to speak up than I ever was! I hope so but I am aware that there are many women, especially in my chosen professional of human resources, who think that their good work will be recognized without them calling attention to it—wish that were true but we must get better at letting everyone know our value!

I especially enjoyed the discussion on the book on mentoring. I am a firm believer in helping those who are following us along our chosen path. There are few things as satisfying in business than helping someone navigate the minefields ahead of them!

So, if you haven’t read Leaning In yet, I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible. If you have a teenage daughter, I think this book would be a great gift to encourage her to learn how important it is to be fully engaged and prepared for what is ahead!



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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.