In an interview in the April Harvard Business Review, Sheryl Sandberg said, “Women face huge institutional barriers. But we also face barriers that exist within ourselves, sometimes as the result of our socialization. For most of my professional life, no one ever talked to me about the ways I held myself back.” (Harvard Business Review April 2013 “Now Is Our Time”).
I’m glad the business world is now buzzing with commentary about Sandberg’s book “Lean In.” The book has not only triggered some readers to wonder if she is blaming women for not getting into the Board room, not only brought the ‘f’ word, feminism, into the picture, but has also introduced an honest conversation about the internal barriers that inhibit women from asserting themselves.
Far from blaming women for not showing up in greater leadership positions, Sandberg names both external and internal factors that make it hard for women to assert themselves, to sustain high self-confidence, to maintain resilience in the face of work place adversity, and to keep up the emotional support that it takes to overcome the multiple barriers to success.