Lean In or Step Back?

When I read articles and opinion pieces, I often look for those that offer a novel or different point of view. Those that force you to think differently and question conventional wisdom.

I (as many other young women) have always idolized Sheryl Sandberg. I liked her background and her ability to be a business woman, but also running her own separate brand that encouraged women and promoted female leadership (all doing it on the side). Although in her book “Lean In” she advocated that women can’t have it all, I still connected with her. I even tried to rationalize her wisdom and thought process and felt like in some ways, we really can’t have it all. Ultimately, something got to give, right? There’s only 24 hours in a day and not all of them are productive. But I digress…

So when I came across a post by Jessi Hempel from LinkedIn, I was puzzled. (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-time-silicon-valley-outgrow-sheryl-sandbergs-jessi-hempel)

Jessi writes about flaws of the “Idea of Sheryl Sandberg.” It made me question Sheryl’s career path. Why does it have to be a woman in a COO seat, taming often unruly young startup founders (Facebook, Airbnb, SpaceX are examples mentioned by Jessi)? Are these seats set up for failure? Founders can’t be overthrown, but designated “fixers” can be (arguably, Sheryl was hired to be one for Facebook). “Fixers” can also be blamed for all the troubles and shortcomings — public needs a scapegoat — and not much can be done about the founders (for example, Zuckerberg still owns majority of Facebook).

Is Sheryl responsible for all the recent issues and failures of Facebook or was she doomed from the get go? I wonder what she thinks …