Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lean In - Part 1


Greg bought me Lean In when it came out since I had expressed an interest in reading it. I finally finished it over the weekend (after getting distracted in the middle by Hunger Games and Game of Thrones). I thought it was a good read and pulled out some quotes/parts of the book that resonated with me. Since there were quite a few quotes I wanted to highlight, I'm splitting this post up into several days.

On everyone having their definition of success/happiness (p. 10):
This book makes the case for leaning in, for being ambitious in any pursuit. And while I believe that increasing the number of women in positions of power is a necessary element of true equality, I do not believe that there is one definition of success or happiness. Not all women want careers. Not all women want children. Not all women want both. I would never advocate that we should all have the same objectives.

On how women see things as a meritocracy, but that's not how things really work (p. 63):
Women are also more reluctant to apply for promotions even when deserved, often believing that good job performance will naturally lead to rewards.8 Carol Frohlinger and Deborah Kolb, founds of Negotiating Women, Inc., describe this as the "Tiara Syndrome," where women "expect that if they keep doing their job well someone will notice them and place a tiara on their head."9 In a perfect meritocracy, tiaras would be doled out to the deserving, but I have yet to see one floating around an office.

On transparent and truthful communication (p. 77-78) - I feel like this is so true, that people are afraid of being mean and therefore are afraid to tell the truth, because sometimes the truth hurts:
Authentic communication is not always easy, but it is the basis for successful relationships at home and real effectiveness at work. Yet people constantly back away from honest to protect themselves and others. This reticence causes and perpetuates all kinds of problems: uncomfortable issues that never get addressed, resentment that builds, unfit managers who get promoted rather than fired, and on and on. Often these situations don't improve because no one tells anyone what is really happening. We are so rarely brave enough to tell the truth . . . Being honest in the workplace is especially difficult.

On how "truth" is relative to an individual's point of view (p. 79):
I learned from Fred that effective communication starts with the understanding that there is my point of view (my truth) and someone else's point of view (his truth). Rarely is there one absolute truth, so people who believe that they speak the truth are very silencing of others. When we recognize that we can see things only from our own perspective, we can share our views in a nonthreatening way.

On bringing our "whole" selves to work (p. 89) - I'm sure I could do a better job of this since when people first meet me at work, they think I'm really serious. They realize I'm not always that serious once they get to know me better (hopefully):
An all-business approach is not always good business . . . It has been an evolution, but I am now a true believer in bringing our whole selves to work. I no longer think people have a professional self for Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time . . . Instead of putting on some kind of fake "all-work persona," I think we benefit from expressing out truth, talking about personal situations, and acknowledging that professional decisions are often emotionally driven.

See also:
Lean In - Part 2
Lean In - Part 3

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