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Think Tank

Thinking Beyond Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In"

The “Lean In” movement that Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg founded with her book of the same name continued a conversation psychologist Matina Horner started 46 years ago. In Horner’s famous study, “Fear of Success," she found that women were afraid of success complicating their lives and experienced anxiety over asserting themselves. But this continues to be only part of the issue of why we don’t have more women CEOs and presidents.

“I think the real problem is the way institutions are structured and the paths to leadership today which require one kind of person to be successful,” says Jody Greenstone Miller, the founder and CEO of Business Talent Group. “That kind of person is the kind of person who makes the judgment that working, and working at very intense ways that require sacrifices across many other elements of an individual’s life, is the way you will achieve success, and they’re willing to make that choice.”

There’s nothing, of course, wrong with choosing this path. But as Miller points out, most people who make this decision tend to be women.

“If we really want to tackle why there aren’t more women in leadership,” says Miller, “[or] what I call a diversity of leadership that really is about a diversity of values, not just diversity of gender or race, you need to create alternative paths to leadership.”

For Miller’s insights into how to build a culture that allows for greater diversity in leadership, and more balanced lives for the executives and their teams, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:

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