It’s ok for women to lead and be scared at the same time.
This was the major takeaway from Sheryl Sandberg’s talk with Lena Dunham, which was published in the latter’s “Lenny Letter,” an online newsletter.
Dunham, the creator and star of HBO’s “Girls”, noted that she still struggles with feeling that “… even as the boss, I want everyone to like me no matter what.”
Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, acknowledged that she also often feels nervous about how others view her.
“You can be the boss and still be terrified, still have the desire to make everyone comfortable,” Sandberg told Dunham. “And it’s a strange divide. You’re in charge but still beholden to other people.”
However, she said she knows “… it is not possible for everyone to agree with me all of the time and I need to make hard decisions.”
Sandberg went on to discuss relationships between women in the workplace. While she encouraged women to help and stand up for one another, she said that it’s a mistake to just expect kindness or mentorship from other women, as this perpetuates a damaging double-standard.
“Early in my career there was a senior woman I was excited to work with, and I thought she would be helpful. When she wasn’t, I was devastated. I expected greater kindness because she was a woman,” Sandberg said. “There are plenty of men who haven’t been helpful in my career and I wasn’t devastated as a result.”
She went on to say that leaders shouldn’t feel obligated to support women simply because they are women. Rather, well-established women should focus on helping capable and competent women succeed in their careers
“It’s the right thing to do, and it creates a work environment that is better for everyone,” Sandberg revealed to Dunham.
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