5 Leadership Thoughts from Sheryl Sandberg

5 Leadership Thoughts from Sheryl Sandberg

As COO of Facebook and founder of leanin.org, Sandberg is one of the most influential people in the world. Her resume includes technology executive, activist, author, and billionaire, and she has a passion for helping women achieve their ambitions to create an equal world. She was elected to Facebook's board of directors by the existing board members, becoming the first woman to serve on its board. Here are our favorite quotes from Sandberg:

  1. “We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” Seeking knowledge is a huge part of leadership, but Sandberg continues to believe that once we have the knowledge, we must act. Change happens when we can see, feel, and acknowledge a problem. We can lead the way by learning, listening, acting, and changing.

  2. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence." Have you ever been around that one person who makes you feel like a million bucks? The person you can’t wait to pick up when they call? Leadership is a lot like that. Our job is to pour into our team and coach them towards their goals to be more than they thought they could ever be. Think about how your team feels towards you when you walk in and out of a room. Does your impact last after you’ve gone?

  3. “Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.” Think of motivation this way: ‘At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.’ With this in mind, Sandberg explains that people are willing to accept the ‘pain of doing it’ only when we get to work on things we care about with the people we care about. What this means for us as leaders is to ask great questions related to their work motivation and team dynamics.

  4. “Not taking failures personally allows us to recover — and even to thrive.” The sooner we accept that failures happen to all of us in life, the quicker we can change our perspective to learn from each failure, to give ourselves grace to fail and try again, to teach others your story to equip them for success, and to grow our character. Being an authentic leader requires us to be vulnerable with our failures and to know that doesn’t mean we are failures as people. The greatest leaders thrive through hard seasons in their career or life. Sandberg lost her husband unexpectedly, and walked through a terrible season of grief, where she probably felt like a failure in many ways, but because she pushed through, she is a beacon of strength to so many women. She is now thriving. 

  5. “The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.” Perhaps we can think about leadership as survivorship - meaning, those who persevere, never give up, survive...end up winning. Maybe not winning by monetary standards, but definitely winning with their character, experience, wisdom, and capacity. How can you prepare yourself now, for the hard days to come? 

Until next time, lead on.

The Leadr Team