Growing up in Miami, Fla., Sheryl Sandberg was always at the top of her class. In middle school, she beat high schoolers in a debating contest, and later enrolled at Harvard. After working in government and then at Google, Sandberg joined Facebook. As chief operating officer, she helped lead the social media company to profitability. In a new book, Sandberg writes about her journey to the top of Silicon Valley while balancing a family. She says women hold themselves back from reaching leadership positions and should take more risks. Diane talks with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg about why women should “lean in” to their careers.


  • Sheryl Sandberg Chief operating officer, Facebook

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Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, says one way to encourage more women into leadership positions is to stop calling them “bossy.” She said these same girls grow up to be told they’re too assertive and aggressive in the workplace. Host Diane Rehm said she, too, was called bossy as a child, especially by other females. “If you go to the playground this weekend you will see people calling little girls bossy, but they almost never call little boys that,” Sandberg said.

Watch the full hour of Diane and Sheryl Sandberg’s interview.


  • 11:06:53

    MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. In 2008, Sheryl Sandberg left Google to become Facebook's chief operating officer. She helped lead the company to profitability in two years. Fortune Magazine recently ranked Sandberg one of the 50 most powerful women in business. Now, in a new book titled, "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead," Sandberg says women hold themselves back, stay silent and play it too safe in the workplace. She describes her own struggle to balance work and family life and how more women can join her at the top.

  • 11:07:37

    MS. DIANE REHMSheryl Sandberg joins me here in the studio. You are welcome to be part of the program with your comments, your questions. Give us a call, 800-433-8850. Send us your email to Follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Good morning, Sheryl. It's so good to meet you.

  • 11:08:04

    MS. SHERYL SANDBERGI'm so glad to be here. Thank you for having me, Diane.

  • 11:08:07

    REHMIt's my pleasure. Let's talk about the title of the book, "Lean In" and precisely what you intended to transmit in the way of that idea to women of all ages.

  • 11:08:28

    SANDBERGSo I wrote "Lean In" to try to change the conversation around women from what we can't do to what we can. And "Lean In" to me means that we believe in ourselves. We can reach any goal we set for ourselves. And we can sit at any table, use our voice because no matter how much progress women have made, we're still really far from having our share of the top jobs in any industry in any country anywhere in the world.

  • 11:08:59

    SANDBERGAnd what that means is that when the decisions are made that impact us, our voices are not equally heard from the corporate board room to the town hall. And I think the message of "Lean In" is that we can change that.

  • 11:09:15

    REHMDo you really believe that by speaking out more, by being more assertive that our voices and our messages are going to get across? There are people who would say, well, I can't do it because my boss is going to knock me down.

  • 11:09:42

    SANDBERGYeah, so "Lean In" is a good title, but it's only part of a message. The message of "Lean In" is one of a quality. In the book I go through all the barriers women face. And it's not only our unvoice. The barriers women face are institutional and public policy that's behind most other countries in the world. And inflexibility in the workforce, childcare that's too expensive, those are real obstacles for women. We are also held back by the stereotypes that we internalize.

  • 11:10:15

    SANDBERGThere was a national retailer who printed up t-shirts for children, for the boys, "Smart like Daddy," for the girls, "Pretty like Mommy."

  • 11:10:26

    REHMI knew you were going to say that.

  • 11:10:27

    SANDBERGNot in the 1950s. That was two years ago. We socialize our sons to lead and our girls to nurture. And that's part of why we don't have women getting the positions of power in the workforce and we don’t have men doing their share in the home.

  • 11:10:42

    REHMWhat kind of role model did you have in your home?

  • 11:10:48

    SANDBERGWell, my parents are with me today.

  • 11:10:50

    REHMThey are indeed.

  • 11:10:50

    SANDBERGMy mom just got to meet -- My mom is a huge fan, and so is my dad, of Diane. So this was a big, big pre-radio moment for us.

  • 11:10:57

    REHMThank you.

  • 11:10:57

    SANDBERGWe were honored to meet you. You know, my family was pretty traditional. My dad earned the money. My mom, you know, took care of us. She was a work-at-home mom and an active volunteer. And I think any choice anyone wants to make is a good choice. Any woman, any man should freely choose to work in the home, should freely choose to work in the workforce. Most people have to work. Let's start there.

  • 11:11:22


  • 11:11:22

    SANDBERGBut what's really happening is that we talk about choice. We mean it for women, not for men. We don't mean choice for men. We don't give men and women equal encouragement to both lead and nurture. And so we don't really have a place where we have real choice. And what "Lean In" aims to do, which I believe is within our grasp, is get to a place of real equality for men and for women.

  • 11:11:45

    REHMAre you at all surprised by the extent of, you know, discussion, even outrage, applause, that you've gotten because of this book? It's not many young women of your age, of your era who are COO of a major company and end up on the cover of Time Magazine.

  • 11:12:15

    SANDBERGYou know, I wrote this book because what I'm worried about is stagnation. Women have been 14 percent of the top jobs in corporate America for 10 years, 10 years absolutely no movement. And I think part of the reaction to the book, which I'm really grateful for, is that we're going to have an active heated debate because these are personal issues. This doesn't just go to national numbers, this goes to who we are as women and men and parents and partners and workers.

  • 11:12:44

    SANDBERGAnd I'm so grateful for the national debate that's happening because I think it's the only hope we have of not, you know, remaining in the place where women are stagnating.

  • 11:12:54

    REHMWell, let's take women at the bottom of the economic scale. What are you saying in "Lean In" to them?

  • 11:13:06

    SANDBERGI think the messages of "Lean In" are unbelievably important for so many women out there who are struggling to make ends meet. "Lean In" is about equality. And it is still the case that in the United States women make .77 to the dollar for every dollar a man makes. Women of color make less. So 30 percent of the children in this country are being raised by a single parent. 85 percent of those are women. And .70 to the dollar is not good enough. It is not good enough. And "Lean In" is about using our voice to negotiate for ourselves.

  • 11:13:37

    SANDBERGIt's also about telling men -- because the audience for this book is not only women. It's telling men, .77 isn't good enough. We're not going to stand for that.

  • 11:13:48

    REHMThink about the Congress. The Congress debating minimum wage. Think about the backlash you've already heard against raising that minimum wage to $9.50. It's as though the country is stuck and women are bigger stuck than men because they're making the decisions.

  • 11:14:21

    SANDBERGThat's right. And most minimum wage workers in this country, the majority are women. You know, when I think of the Congress I can't help but think about all the headlines I saw in November. Women are taking over the Congress. Really? 20 percent. Women are taking...

  • 11:14:34


  • 11:14:35

    SANDBERG...over the Senate at 20 percent?

  • 11:14:35

    REHMRight. Right.

  • 11:14:37

    SANDBERGNo matter how good your math skills are, 20 percent is just not a takeover. I think it shows how uncomfortable we are with women in power. That we were so astonished that women got to 20 percent. And I think we can change that.

  • 11:14:51

    REHMI think people want to know who you are and where you have been and how you've gotten where you are.

  • 11:15:02

    SANDBERGI was born in Miami. I recognized the fortune of my birth. It was something I was raised to understand. I think about all the time that, you know, there's a huge -- I could have been born anywhere else in the world and there are so many places in the world where women still don't have basic civil rights.

  • 11:15:20


  • 11:15:21

    SANDBERGAnd so I feel fortunate to be born in this country, to have gotten a great education, something I'm deeply worried we don't give enough of our kids now. And I was raised by parents, I had a brother and a sister, who told me that I could do anything if I worked hard enough.

  • 11:15:37

    REHMWere you bossy?

  • 11:15:39

    SANDBERGI was bossy for sure.

  • 11:15:40

    REHMMe, too. Me, too.

  • 11:15:41

    SANDBERGYou, too?

  • 11:15:42

    REHMMe, too.

  • 11:15:43

    SANDBERGAt my wedding my brother and sister stood up and said, Hi. We're Sheryl's younger brother and sister, David and Michelle, but we're not really Sheryl's younger brother and sister. We're really her first employees. Employee one and employee two because Sheryl never really played as a child. She basically organized other children's play. And everyone laughed. I laughed. And it is a funny joke, but there's something really serious in that joke. There's something part of me that's still embarrassed by that joke.

  • 11:16:14

    SANDBERGI had a hard time putting it in my book. But I did because if we want women to lead, we've got to stop calling them bossy. If you go to the playground this weekend, you will see people call little girls bossy.

  • 11:16:26

    REHMOf course.

  • 11:16:26

    SANDBERGBut they almost never call little boys...

  • 11:16:29

    REHMI know it. Isn't that interesting.

  • 11:16:30

    SANDBERGThat's right. So you were called bossy as a little girl?

  • 11:16:31

    REHMI was called bossy all the time. My girlfriends called me bossy, not the boys. The girls called me bossy.

  • 11:16:40

    SANDBERGThat's right.

  • 11:16:41

    REHMSo here we are.

  • 11:16:42

    SANDBERGAnd that's one of the most important things for people to understand about stereotypes. Stereotypes and gender bias is held by women, as well as men. People will say, those same stereotypes -- we call our little girls bossy in the playground. Those same women get performance reviews at work and people say things like she's really good at her job, but she's a little aggressive. She's a little too assertive. Right? Or she's just not as well liked by her peers.

  • 11:17:07

    REHMDid you get reviews like that?

  • 11:17:10

    SANDBERGAll of that. Every woman I know in a senior job was called bossy and her childhood.

  • 11:17:15

    REHMAnd what was your reaction when, as you moved up the employment ladder, you got those, well, if you could tone it down...

  • 11:17:27


  • 11:17:28

    REHM...a little?

  • 11:17:29

    SANDBERGYeah, I mean I wrote "Lean In" for every girl who's been called bossy so we would stop. And for every woman who's had that review, so she'll know you're not crazy, it's not you. What the data shows very conclusively is that success and likability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. That means, as a man gets more successful, more powerful, he's better liked by men and women. And as a woman gets more successful and powerful, she's less liked. Rachel Thomas just became the president of, the non-profit I’m working on starting along with the book.

  • 11:18:04

    SANDBERGAnd she was talking to her five-year-old daughter Haley about why she took the job. And she said, Haley, what if I told you that as Mommy does better at work, fewer people like me, but when Daddy does better at work more people like him, what would you say? And she expected Haley to say, well, that's really unfair Mom, but that's not what Haley said. Haley said, well, then Mommy, I would be less successful at work so more people will like me.

  • 11:18:30

    REHMOh. Sheryl Sandberg. She's chief operating officer at Facebook. Her new book is titled, "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead." Stay with us.

  • 11:20:08

    REHM...back. Here's a first email from Carl. He says I've spent decades in middle and upper management. It's been clear to me that the majority of my best employees have been women.

  • 11:20:22


  • 11:20:23

    REHMBut they also characteristically have been poor at self-promotion. I would coach them on this. My deal with them has always been do your best at our mutual agenda and I'll help promote you.

  • 11:20:43

    SANDBERGOh. Well, Carl is the answer. Carl is why I hope more men would lean in. So relative to performance, men will get there slightly high and women will get there slightly low. And women tend, on average, to be more insecure, less confident in our own abilities. Again, going back to the socialization we faced as girls. And so, what this takes is and one of the messages of "Lean In" is for women to sit at the table.

  • 11:21:11

    SANDBERGAnd their managers who are almost always men at the senior levels to tell them, hey, sit at the table and tell them you did a great job and make it easier for them to talk about their accomplishments.

  • 11:21:23

    REHMHere's another email from David in New Hampshire. I'm curious if Sandberg feels more women in leadership positions would result in more family friendly workplace policies.

  • 11:21:41

    SANDBERGYes, I do. The data shows that when there are more women in senior leadership roles in an organization, those organizations have better family friendly policies. Those organizations also have smaller pay gaps for a number of their women. And so I believe that getting more women into the boardroom and into leadership positions is important for all women.

  • 11:22:02

    REHMBut you know this story I'm about to ask you about, the woman who took over Yahoo and has said everybody works five days.

  • 11:22:15

    SANDBERGYeah. So I don't know exactly what's happening at Yahoo. I'm not sure anyone does despite all the media flurry. And it doesn't have to be the case that every single example proves the rule. But the date is conclusive that when women run companies, on average, they have better family friendly policies. And I believe that we would get there.

  • 11:22:35

    REHMHow about dogs? Do you think dogs can also come in?

  • 11:22:39

    SANDBERGDogs. When I worked we had -- we let dogs come.

  • 11:22:44

    REHMReally important.

  • 11:22:45

    SANDBERGYeah, there were a lot of dogs, it's true.

  • 11:22:46

    REHMI mean, just really, really important. Why do you think that only 20-some of the Fortune 500 companies have women as chief executives?

  • 11:23:04

    SANDBERGYou know, women are held back by a lot of things, by inflexibility and discrimination and bad public policy. Women are also held back by that success and likability penalty. Because we want to promote people to CEO who are not just successful but they're well liked. And men can be successful and achieve great results and they were liked. And women, when they achieve those results, she's a little too aggressive.

  • 11:23:27

    SANDBERGAnd so the really important thing I think "Lean In" can do, working both on the book and, I hope everyone listening joins us and joins our community, is we can help take away that penalty women face. There's a man who works for me at Facebook and we just did our annual performance reviews for the end of the last year. And he said he got feedback that a woman who works for him is too aggressive.

  • 11:23:49

    SANDBERGAnd he said that he's been listening to what I said, so rather than write down in her performance review too aggressive, he went back and he spoke to the people, men and women, who gave that feedback. And he said, can you tell me specifically what she did that was too aggressive. And they answered. And then he said, if a man had done that exact same thing, would you have thought he was too aggressive?

  • 11:24:11

    SANDBERGAnd to the person, they said no. And so I'm not claiming that talking solves every problem and that leaning in and raising our voice solves every problem. I do believe it's part of the solution we need. I know that there are countries in Europe that have every institutional reform in public policy we could ever want and they have fewer than 1 percent women running their companies. And so, this is going to take all sides of this agenda.

  • 11:24:37

    SANDBERGThis is going to take all of that reform, but it's also going to take understanding the biases we hold against women to change them. And we can do that.

  • 11:24:45

    REHMYou said to me during the break, you think it's going to get worse. Why?

  • 11:24:53

    SANDBERGSo women have been 14 percent of the top jobs in corporate America for 10 years. So from the 1970s to 10 years ago it went up every year, you know, on average, it went up. And then it's been flat for 10 years in business or sociology trends that go up and then are flat for 10 years are at risk of staying flat or even going down. And what I worry about is that when I was in college, you know, I'm 43 years old, so 22 years ago, we never thought about work-life balance.

  • 11:25:21

    SANDBERGWe thought it would all work out. And it didn't. It was too hard because women have two jobs and men have one. But we have people worrying about this so young. My friend Peggy has a friend whose daughter is in kindergarten and she came to see her. And she said, mommy, I have a problem. She said, what's the problem? She said, I want to be an astronaut. And the boy I like wants to be an astronaut.

  • 11:25:41

    SANDBERGAnd the mother said, well, what's wrong with that? And she said, well, we can't both go into space. Someone's gonna have to watch our kids.

  • 11:25:48


  • 11:25:49

    SANDBERGShe's five. We assume that women will do the majority of the child care and the housework and they do. A Pew study came out that was just released this morning.

  • 11:25:59


  • 11:26:00

    SANDBERGSaying that women are doing basically twice as much as child care and housework as men. That's part of what's holding women back. We cannot get to parity in the workplace until we get there.

  • 11:26:09

    REHMYou say politics is also holding women back.

  • 11:26:14

    SANDBERGPolitics in the government or in the workforce?

  • 11:26:17

    REHMPolitics generally.

  • 11:26:19

    SANDBERGI think every political structure we have which, you know, still has the property of being run by men is one that could be run better. I think we're really hindered by the fact that we don't talk about gender issues at all. I never said the word woman in the workforce until just a few years ago because if you're working you don't talk about being a woman. Someone might notice you're a woman.

  • 11:26:39

    SANDBERGAnd if you say that word, you feel like the person on the other side of the table is going to think you're asking for special treatment or suing them. For men, it's worst. A friend of mine who runs a large institution, he said he'd rather talk about his sex life in public than talk about gender. We don't make it safe for anyone to talk about this. And until we let the elephant into the room and talk about the fact that this stereotypes are holding us back, we can't fix it.

  • 11:27:03

    REHMAll right. You have been on "60 Minutes," you've been on the cover of Time magazine. I wonder how much of an opportunity you've had to hear from people in the audience. And I'm talking about a huge audience here. We're going to open the phones now...

  • 11:27:30

    SANDBERGThat's great.

  • 11:27:32

    REHM...and hear what people had to say. Let's go first to Padma. She's in Jacksonville, FL. Good morning to you.

  • 11:27:42

    PADMAGood morning, Diane. Oh, my goodness. This is unbelievable that I'm actually talking to Diane Rehm.

  • 11:27:50

    SANDBERGI feel the same way.

  • 11:27:52

    PADMARight? Sheryl, I know exactly what you mean. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Diane.

  • 11:27:56

    REHMThank you.

  • 11:27:57

    PADMAAnd, Sheryl, my question to you is, what is your leadership style and what is your process of decision making? I mean, do you deliberate ad nauseum or do you make snap decisions? Where in that spectrum are you with decision making and your leadership style?

  • 11:28:14

    SANDBERGYou know, I write about my leadership style in my book and I talk about it as bringing your whole self to work. I start from a place of recognizing that we are all very human. I've cried at work. I don't recommend it as a best practice but it's happened and I've talked about it honestly.

  • 11:28:30


  • 11:28:31

    SANDBERGAnd I've seen other people, men and women, get pretty upset at work. I believe that we try to make rational decisions. We're analytical beings, especially at work. We measure ROI and return on investment. But we also are very emotional. And I think understanding what makes people tick and taking the time to spend that time with them is something that I really feel is part of being a great leader and something that I certainly do my best to do at work and really encourage both the men and the women who work with me to do that.

  • 11:29:01

    SANDBERGI have a male friend, he read my book and he just started a new job, a big job in New York City. And he said, he realized he never asked anyone about their lives. And so he started his new job and in his first meeting with every direct report he had, he asked them who they were.

  • 11:29:15

    REHMOf course.

  • 11:29:16

    SANDBERGAnd what they cared about.

  • 11:29:17

    REHMOf course.

  • 11:29:17

    SANDBERGAnd he said he's never felt better about a team.

  • 11:29:20

    REHMBut tell Padma how you go about making a decision.

  • 11:29:27

    SANDBERGDifferent decisions, different ways. At Facebook we have a saying, done is better than perfect. I think we pride ourselves on moving quickly and iterating. We put things up, we put products up and then we try to learn and do better. And then we're doing the same thing, started with a group of people, It's the beginnings of a community around these issues for men and women.

  • 11:29:49

    SANDBERGAnd we've put up our initial education videos. We put five videos up that people -- that give women tips and men how to negotiate, how to sit at the table. And then we're asking the community, what other videos do you want to see. And so we have a very iterative style both at Facebook and all the work I do. And I think the process of not trying to do things until they're absolutely perfect but putting them out there and getting feedback has served us well.

  • 11:30:13

    REHMGood point. Let's go to Robin in Cleveland, OH. Good morning to you.

  • 11:30:20

    ROBINThank you so much for taking my call.

  • 11:30:22


  • 11:30:22

    ROBINI'm such a great admirer of you, Ms. Sandberg. I am so grateful for you writing this book. It is a huge national discussion that needs to be had. There are women that are mothers that had so many problems in the workplace. We are the second wave of feminism. We are all doctors, lawyers, professionals and we come to -- we have not experienced discrimination gender-wise until we become mothers. I think that what you said about...

  • 11:30:46


  • 11:30:47

    ROBIN...the discussion in the workplace about gender, it's really a discussion about motherhood. That is the last acceptable bias in our society is to be biased against mothers. I have literally been in division meetings where even talking about child care, I'm physician, is considered so abhorrent that I was forbidden from discussing it all with fellow females and children. And it is the last that needs to be openly discussed.

  • 11:31:14

    ROBINI think we need a national policy about motherhood discrimination, a national mother's movement perhaps. I don't think it's just gender. And I don't think it's just the way that women are perceived and whether or not they're perceived as aggressive or not. I really think it's an institutional policy issue. And I would like your opinion about that. Thank you so much.

  • 11:31:32

    SANDBERGYeah. Look, the data does show that women pay a penalty for motherhood. Both the penalty for taking leave but even those who don't. Their salaries can go down. So I really agree with you that this is an issue. And the other thing you said I really agree with is that we're handling all of this difficulties by pretending they don't exist and not talking about them. And it turns out that not talking about them to your point of not being able to discuss child care, you have child care needs and issues.

  • 11:31:56

    SANDBERGAnd even if you can't talk about them, those issues still exist. I think and I'm hoping "Lean In" is part of doing this. We can completely change this. I'll offer you the following example which I was blown away by. My brother is a surgeon in Houston. He just moved there and he's hiring a new surgical team. So he made an offer to a woman to join his team. And she's, like, in her late 20s and just got engaged.

  • 11:32:18

    SANDBERGHe said to her, I really hope you join my team and I'd love for you to come work here. And I want you to know you may want to have kids one day, you can gasp already because no one says that. But then he said, and if you don't ever want to talk to me about that, of course that's fine, this is your business. But I also know that my two sisters, I'm one of them, and my wife struggled through this.

  • 11:32:38

    SANDBERGThey struggled worrying about whether anyone would find out they were pregnant they would lose their jobs or get the worst assignments, that they wouldn't be able to come back. Once they were able to come back they wouldn't be able to find the right child care arrangements to take care of their children and have their job. So if you join my team and you ever want to talk about this, my door is open.

  • 11:32:57

    SANDBERGYou can talk to me anytime. I'm not going to give the good surgeries to someone else because you want to be a mother and I'm going to help you take leave and come back. That conversation is not just legal but that conversation is going to help every manager who does it be more effective. And I think that's the conversation we need to start having in our workplaces.

  • 11:33:15

    REHMYou really were bossy back then, weren't you? All right, let's Lydia in McLean, VA. You're on the air.

  • 11:33:25

    LYDIAHi, thank you. I just want to call and talk about an experience I had with a female boss who when I first came under tutelage she said that she would help mentor me into my position and grow and learn the industry. I was working in (word?). But then I found over the course of our work together, she did the opposite. And she was not guiding, she was not affront with me on things and did not give me constructive criticism when I could have used it.

  • 11:33:55

    REHMOh dear.

  • 11:33:56

    ROBINAnd so my question is, there are women in mid-management position who are qualified and some maybe not so who give a lot of lip service to this type of conversation.

  • 11:34:11

    REHMAll right, and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Are there women that you, Sheryl, have come across that may hinder other women?

  • 11:34:24

    SANDBERGYeah, I want to thank you for sharing that story honestly and openly because historically it hasn't always been the case that women help other women. That's one of the points the book makes. There's a whole chapter on it and it's one of the points of forming and bringing women and men together around supporting women. Madeleine Albright has this great quote. She says, there's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.

  • 11:34:46

    SANDBERGAnd I think all too often we don't do as much as we can and I think that is one of the messages of "Lean In" that we can join together. We can help each other. We are 50 percent of the population with more than 50 percent of the purchasing power in this country.

  • 11:35:01

    REHMTell me how is going to work.

  • 11:35:06

    SANDBERGYeah. So you can join us at or on Facebook. We're doing three things. We're bringing men and women together in a "Lean In" community to share their stories. Diane said she would share hers. We're going to look forward to that. You can all come find it. But, you know, there are stories on there of a woman who her lean in moment was facing her rapist. She was raped. She testified against him in court.

  • 11:35:29

    SANDBERGShe was afraid to see him and she put him away for 31 and a half years, no parole. And there's a story on there about a women who got pregnant at 15, became a teenage mother, had to support several kids and just became an assistant principal. And there's the story on there of Ursula Burns. She's the CEO of Xerox. Her story starts out by saying, I was told I had three strikes against me when I was a little girl. I was poor. I was black. And I was a girl.

  • 11:35:55

    SANDBERGAnd she became the CEO of one of the biggest companies. So it's coming together to all of us share our stories. Second thing we're doing is Lean In Education. We have this great, very short 20-minute lectures free, available to anyone to watch from Stanford professors talking about how you can negotiate for yourself, how you can present yourself, how you can tell stories and convince people.

  • 11:36:15

    SANDBERGSomething I know Diane would be an expert on. And the third thing is forming Lean In circles. Helping anyone, women, men, form groups of eight to ten people who come together to support each other. Think of it as a book club for your career, for people who have the time to go deeper. There's a lot of evidence from micro-credits to health groups that we are better in numbers and we all need support and that's what is trying to do.

  • 11:36:41

    REHMYou know, it's interesting because I was fortunate enough early in my career to be part of a group like that.

  • 11:36:53


  • 11:36:53

    REHMIt started in my church made up of men and women and it evolved into an all-women's group. But it's true that sharing can make such a difference.

  • 11:37:10

    SANDBERGThat's great. You see, we're one of the first lean in circles, Diane. But we believe that if people are there to support each other so that when you have the experiences of not being supported in the workplace, you always have a safe place.

  • 11:37:22

    REHMSheryl Sandberg, her book is titled, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead." By the way, this broadcast is being video streamed as well. You can see Sheryl Sandberg's beautiful face. Short break.

  • 11:40:06

    REHMAnd welcome back. If you've just joined us, Sheryl Sandberg is with me. She is, of course, chief operating officer at Facebook and prior to that she was vice president of global online news and operations at Google, chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department where I gather you were very close to Treasury Secretary Summers.

  • 11:40:37

    SANDBERGI was.

  • 11:40:38

    REHMAnd what did you learn from him, Sheryl?

  • 11:40:43

    SANDBERGOh, I learned from Larry Summers. He was my thesis advisor in college and my boss for many years. I learned from Larry to be really rigorous about data. To really understand what the data was telling. But I also learned from Larry some of the lessons in the book. Larry's wife at the time was a lawyer and he used to tell her and her friends they needed to bill like a boy.

  • 11:41:07

    SANDBERGAnd what he meant by that is he watched as his wife, Vicky, at the time -- Vicky's -- the friends they would, you know, say, you know, I'm not having a great day. I'll just bill half when they were sitting at their desks. And their male colleagues were billing time in the shower. There's a famous story of a Harvard law professor who when asked to itemize his bills by a judge said he couldn't because he was so often doing two things at once.

  • 11:41:32


  • 11:41:33

    SANDBERGAnd then he said who do you think is more valuable to that law firm, the guy who's billing more time than not. And he wasn't advocating that his wife's friends cheat. He was advocating that they fairly assess their value. That for every minute they bill -- they work for that client they bill for that client like men do.

  • 11:41:51

    REHMAnd guilt walked into that conversation.

  • 11:41:55

    SANDBERGOh, that's right. It's a big theme in my book and the work we're doing which is that women feel guilty. I feel guilty. You know, I dropped my son off at school one day wearing his favorite blue tee shirt. And, you know, as they open the door to take him out of the car pool line the woman says, you know, it's St. Patrick's Day. He's supposed to be wearing green.

  • 11:42:14


  • 11:42:15

    SANDBERGAnd I'm, like, really, really. And then I spent the rest of the day, literally the rest of the day...

  • 11:42:19

    REHMFeeling totally guilty.

  • 11:42:20

    SANDBERG...Feeling guilty. What if he's not okay? What if everyone else has green? Should I leave work and go to the store and buy a green tee shirt? I call my husband in the middle of the day, in the middle of my angst. You know what he says? It's good for him. He'll learn he doesn't have to do what everyone else is doing.

  • 11:42:37

    REHMI love it.

  • 11:42:38

    SANDBERGYou know, women do. We feel guilty. We measure ourselves at work compared to the people, often men, who aren't doing their share in the homes like we are. And then we measure ourselves at home compared to people who can do more. And we have these red posters all over the walls at Facebook. And one of them says done is better than perfect. And one of the messages of "Lean In" for myself, as well as everyone else is we have to give ourselves a break. We're never going to do anything perfectly. Done is better than perfect. Blue tee shirts are okay even on St. Patrick's Day. Just focus on the most important stuff and let the rest try to wash off you.

  • 11:43:13

    REHMLet's go to Scott in San Antonio, good morning, you're on the air.

  • 11:43:17

    SCOTTGood morning, Diane, Sheryl, pleasure to talk. What's interesting is you're talking about something, I mean, I wrestle with every day, which is balance.

  • 11:43:26


  • 11:43:27

    SCOTTAs a father and who's, interestingly a St. Patty's Day reference there, and there are events that I all of a sudden realize the morning of, hey, wait that's going to happen at school. And my son, Bobby, tells me and I've been so focused on work that maybe I haven't had that balance that I need to maintain. And I wonder, Sheryl, if you think about could you now be the chief of staff of the Secretary of the Treasury with being a mother and trying to balance that. I bet it would be very difficult. So the discussion about for the women, as well as for the men, there are men who wrestle with this balance and there are sacrifices that you make.

  • 11:44:02

    SCOTTAnd whether you make the choice -- so your friend talking about this big job in Manhattan now -- I've made a choice not to go back to New York because knowing the sacrifice I'd have to make in Manhattan right now I'm not willing to do that because of what'd I miss with my children. And then to tie over to this -- to your friend in Manhattan, Sheryl, it's a great point about learning about your employees and people you work with. You can only build a team with leadership. And leadership, he's demonstrating there because something as simple as, hey, how was your weekend...

  • 11:44:33


  • 11:44:33

    SCOTT...And hearing somebody talk about whether...

  • 11:44:35


  • 11:44:36

    SCOTT...It's a baseball game for their child or...

  • 11:44:37

    REHMOf course.

  • 11:44:37

    SCOTT...A dance recital an interesting piece. So thanks for your time.

  • 11:44:41

    SANDBERGI love the question because leaning into fatherhood is a huge part of the message of "Lean In." And I don't like the term work life balance, but we all want life and we all want work. And we need to make that safe for everyone. One of the stories in the book comes from Colin Powell. And I think if there was ever a workplace that we would think of as inflexible or, at least, I was -- I would it would be the military.

  • 11:45:04

    SANDBERGAnd Colin Powell writes that when he was in the military there were times he needed his team and he expected them in the office. And there were times when he really didn't need them and he wanted them to go home and be with their families to rejuvenate. I was at a reception last night in D.C. and there was a woman there from the Naval Academy. And she told me that the women at the Naval Academy are forming lean in circles.

  • 11:45:25


  • 11:45:25

    SANDBERGAnd I think the point of your question would be we know we'll be on the path when the men of the Naval Academy are forming lean in circles as well.

  • 11:45:32

    REHMThat would be great.

  • 11:45:32

    SANDBERGAnd that's something I think we can aspire to.

  • 11:45:36

    REHMLet's go to Lansing, Mich. Good morning, Chelsea.

  • 11:45:39

    CHELSEAGood morning. Thank you so much for putting me on.

  • 11:45:44


  • 11:45:44

    CHELSEAI'm in college right now and I have to say I absolutely the discussion because being with the politicians this past year women's rights have been such a thing that have been discussed and it's, you know, there's basic issues that would have absolutely no problem debating them. And then we've a few students drop drawback about rape and birth control and these rights that have been talked about so much. And it's kind of discouraging how do we expect to get something like workplace equality to be talked about when we see some of our other rights so heavily debated?

  • 11:46:14

    REHMIt's interesting talking about the politics of birth control, talking about the politics of abortion, sort of, cutting off women's rights politically, which is certainly going to be debated.

  • 11:46:33

    SANDBERGI mean I think we will make better decisions in our homes, in our government and in our workplaces if men and women's voices are equally heard. And that's not really our -- that's part of why we're working on lean on.

  • 11:46:47

    REHMTo Little Rock, Ark. good morning, Vanessa.

  • 11:46:50

    VANESSAGood morning. Can you hear me okay?

  • 11:46:54

    REHMSure can.

  • 11:46:56

    VANESSAOkay, great. I am an attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas and I've had -- I've been given a really great opportunity by my partners, the law firm that I work for. He has allowed me to work from home and, you know, that's hard because it means I have to work in my -- I have two little kids, two and one -- and I have to work when they're asleep. When they take naps I work and when they go to bed at night I work.

  • 11:47:19

    VANESSAAnd that's been, you know, a challenge, but it's also an opportunity for me to make, basically what I see, as my own rules about working because I feel like women are trying really hard to fit within some standards that were created by men, like, a 40-hour work week and the time off and all that stuff are just standards that were created, and I hate to say this in this way, but basically by men who had women at home taking care of their children. And so they could create a schedule that worked for them in that way. And I think that we need to say you can -- we got to kind of scrap the system in some way -- I know you can't completely revamp it, but just say we need to make a system that works for us. We are much a part of the system as men are now.

  • 11:48:03


  • 11:48:04

    SANDBERGOh, I love...

  • 11:48:05


  • 11:48:06

    SANDBERG...I love the point you're making and I bet you your law firm has just gained not just great productive hours from you, but your loyalty. That my belief and it's in "Lean In" is that your boss, male or female, who made that decision didn't just do you a favor, but made a good business decision because by keeping you engaged, letting you work around your children's schedule I bet you're doing great work for your law firm. And you are more likely to keep doing it. You're not going to go look for another job.

  • 11:48:35

    REHMTell me about your own schedule, Sheryl.

  • 11:48:39

    SANDBERGMy own schedule, you know, varies a bunch, but I get up super early. My husband...

  • 11:48:46

    REHMWhat's super early?

  • 11:48:46

    SANDBERG...My kids get up super -- before 6:00.

  • 11:48:49


  • 11:48:49

    SANDBERGMy kids also get up super early. My husband blames me. He's a late night person. I'm a morning person.

  • 11:48:54

    REHMMe, too.

  • 11:48:54

    SANDBERGHe says they've got -- you're morning or late night?

  • 11:48:57

    REHM5:00 a.m.

  • 11:48:57

    SANDBERG5:00 a.m., yeah, you're morning.

  • 11:48:59


  • 11:48:59

    SANDBERGSo my kids they're five and seven so now we've tried to teach them you have to stay in your bed until the clock says 6:00. That doesn't always work, but we try. I try to spend some time with my kids. If I get up early enough get a workout in. One of the two of us drives our kids to school. I work during the day and then, as I've said publicly, if I'm in town I leave at 5:30 to have dinner with my children. And then I get back online.

  • 11:49:22

    REHMHow much do you travel?

  • 11:49:25

    SANDBERGI travel probably a lot. I would say, like, you know, a fourth to a fifth of my time.

  • 11:49:30


  • 11:49:30

    SANDBERGAnd that's why when I am in town I'm really focused on getting home. One of the reason I believe more women in leadership roles would help is that when I keep that schedule at Facebook no one else has 6:00 p.m. meetings either or 7:00 p.m. meetings, right, because I'm home with dinner with my kids and that means they can go home. And this is also not just an issue for women with kids, this is an issue for everyone.

  • 11:49:51

    SANDBERGThere was a woman who was talking to me about this and she said I'm so tired of hearing about all the women with kids who have to go home for a soccer game. She said I need to go to a bar. Because I want to meet someone so I can have kids and my need to go to a bar is just as legitimate as that woman's need to go to her kid's soccer game. And I applaud that message. Life is important for everyone.

  • 11:50:13

    REHMHere's an email from Joelle. "Please comment on the imposter syndrome. I find it's rife in women in engineering and a toxic combination with affirmative action policies. It's why I," she says, "Don't negotiate well and I'm sure I'm not the only one."

  • 11:50:40

    SANDBERGYou are correct. You are not the only one. The book has a whole chapter on this. The imposter syndrome is when we feel like frauds. We don't feel we've earned our success. We'll do well on a test and we got lucky. Or we did something well and it's because someone helped us.

  • 11:50:53

    REHMHave you ever felt that way?

  • 11:50:54

    SANDBERGOh, yes. And my book is filled with stories of feeling like that. And I still feel it to this day. It doesn't change, but it can change as you gain more confidence. Men and women feel the imposter syndrome, but women feel it more and it holds us back. And I share my stories openly in the book. It's part of what is trying to do. We think if women band together and share those experiences with each other we will convince ourselves. And my advice to women is the same advice I give myself. You can't change how you feel, but you can sit at the table and raise your voice. And by doing that you will gain the confidence to sit at the table and raise your voice.

  • 11:51:36

    REHMGive me an example of a moment when you felt like a fraud.

  • 11:51:42

    SANDBERGOh, my God, so many moments. I first heard that term when I was in college. I was there for induction into the honors society sitting with my friends. And the whole speech was on feeling like a fraud. And I leaned forward in my chair. I thought it was the best speech I'd ever heard. And then I went to the reception where the boys and girls were mingling afterwards. And there was a difference speech for the men. And I said to one of my male friends we just heard the most amazing speech on feeling like a fraud. And he said why would that be interesting? And I learned something important in that moment...

  • 11:52:12


  • 11:52:12

    SANDBERG...Which is that women feel this more than men. Men feel it, too, but women feel it more than men. And we have to adjust because what I see in my career is at every stage the men who work for me they're in my office. They're in my conference room. They want the next job. They believe they can do more. And then some of the women reach, but a lot of times I'll sit there with a women and I'll say you should do this. And she'll say, but I'm still learning.

  • 11:52:37


  • 11:52:38

    SANDBERGOr I don't know if I'm ready for that. And I almost never hear those things from men. And so women -- we need to adjust. We need to remember we can do more than we think. We are not imposters. We can own our success and own our skills and reach for opportunities.

  • 11:52:53

    REHMSheryl Sandberg and her new book is titled, "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead." And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Let's go to San Francisco good morning, Sharon, you're on the air.

  • 11:53:15

    SHARONGood morning. Thank you for taking my call.

  • 11:53:19

    REHMSure, go right ahead.

  • 11:53:21

    SHARONAs a software engineer being in the Silicon Valley area for 20 years what I've seen, at least, post dot com bust is managers telling people that it's a 16-hour minimum mandatory day. That's minimum mandatory and I wonder how she sees that changing in the future because that's for men and women. And I don't see how that's a sustainable business model, but it is something that has happened at many, many companies.

  • 11:53:55

    SANDBERGWell, it's a great question. We certainly don't say that Facebook. And we're always looking for great software engineers so please apply, but that's not sustainable. Let's be clear, you know, it's a marathon not a sprint for all of us. There are always times in software companies where you're pushing a product out.

  • 11:54:09

    REHMSure, sure.

  • 11:54:10

    SANDBERGBut the long term we can't work at that level. And I think the question is how does your company set you up and all of us up to be efficient and effective and not put in those hours. I don't think that's -- I don't think that's sustainable.

  • 11:54:21

    REHMJane in Fort Wayne, Ind. you're on the air.

  • 11:54:25

    JANEHi, Diane, what an honor to talk to you both.

  • 11:54:29

    REHMThank you.

  • 11:54:29

    JANEI retired as a nurse, a nursing supervisor, recently. And the thing I have to say is that I would say that I held myself back from advancing. I was a single mother working as a nurse. I was able to work as a supervisory nurse so I was basically in charge of the hospital on the off shifts that I was working. So that was nice because then I didn't have so many people telling me what to do. I could tell other people what to do.

  • 11:54:58

    SANDBERGSo, but I didn't take opportunities to advance further than that because I saw that the higher up you went the more tenuous your job was. And as a working mother I couldn't -- I couldn't do that.

  • 11:55:12


  • 11:55:13

    SANDBERGSo I know a lot of women feel that and I believe that if we had more women in senior positions the higher up you went the more tenuous your job would not be. That we would understand, you know, I -- my book starts out with a story. When I was at Google I got pregnant with my first child and I had bad pregnancies and I, you know, spent the morning staring at the bottom of the toilet and had to basically park really far away for a client meeting and felt really sick by the time I got there, like, really sick. And it was a client so trying not to throw up on the client. And I told my husband that night, you know, about the whole parking thing. And he said, well, Google needs pregnancy parking.

  • 11:55:48

    REHMOf course.

  • 11:55:49

    SANDBERGHe was at Yahoo at the time. We have pregnancy parking. So I marched into our founder's office and said we need pregnancy parking. And he said I never thought of it. And I had never thought of it either. And to this day I feel guilty about that, but I did think of it because I got pregnant and I was there. And so I really believe empathy forms -- shared experience form the basis for empathy. So if we get more women into more senior jobs we can change this.

  • 11:56:10

    REHMWell, speaking of senior jobs, Lynn just called to say Hilary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg 2016.

  • 11:56:20

    SANDBERGWell, I'm for the Hilary...

  • 11:56:21

    REHMDo you love that? Do you just love that?

  • 11:56:24

    SANDBERGThe side of that I like is Hilary Clinton. One of the reasons I wrote "Lean In" is because about a year and a half ago my daughter was four and we played a tape of all the presidents to celebrate President's Day. And she looked up and said mommy why are they all boys? And so I'd like to see a woman president. I'd like to see Hilary Clinton as president.

  • 11:56:43

    REHMI'm sure she knows that. I'm sure she knows that. Sheryl Sandberg, I think your book is an inspiration...

  • 11:56:54

    SANDBERGThank you.

  • 11:56:55 women of all ages. And do go -- we have a link to at our website, We've got streaming that you can see. We've got film up there so you can see Sheryl Sandberg. I wish you all success.

  • 11:57:20

    SANDBERGThank you so much. It was such an honor to be with you, Diane.

  • 11:57:23

    REHMAnd a pleasure to be with you. Thanks for listening all. I'm Diane Rehm.

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