Why Sheryl Sandberg Says Hard Conversations Are Essential
By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and a strong advocate for female leadership. She believes there aren't enough female leaders and is committed to supporting more women to step up and take on senior roles - including those she manages. When speaking at a Financial Times conference, the Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn shared one piece of advice she has received from Ms Sandberg; to initiate difficult conversations on a frequent basis! Here's why...
Ms Mendelsohn explained that initiating these conversations bring uncomfortable issues out into the open so that they then can be addressed.
“Every time I see my boss Sheryl Sandberg, she will always ask, ‘When is the last time you had a hard conversation?’ She’s trying to embed it right into the heart of our culture... Not having such conversations can lead to workplace issues becoming “really difficult, really personal.”
The issues that can be worked on as a result of these conversations include gender inequality and diversity. On a personal level, they include whether we go for a pay rise or a promotion and how we set about doing that. If we're not pushing ourselves as individuals to have the difficult conversations that require us to be courageous - then it is not realistic to expect things to change or for progress to be made.