“seek and speak your truth” ~ sheryl sandberg in “lean-in”

26 Aug

I’m reading Sheryl Sanderg’s  book, Lean-In. I have mostly agreed with her advice all along. Today, I read the chapter titled “Seek and Speak Your Truth”. She talks about being authentic at work. Encourage others to tell you when you are wrong, and thank them publicly for doing so. Let people know privately when something is not working for you. She talks about blurred lines between work and home, and how we cannot be different personalities from one to the other. So far, so good. Then she talks about crying at work.

Sheryl says she does not advocate crying, but if it happens, it happens. She says its ok to share your personal life. She recounts examples of people – make and female – receiving sympathy and support when they got teary-eyed at work. Here is where I disagree with Sheryl. In my empirical experience, extreme display of emotion do not bode well at work. I know one executive who became teary-eyed while giving a “kick-butt” talk to the team for meeting their goals. The team was all shocked about why this person was getting so emotional, they wondered if he had it all in control, and the executive was soon history.

There was another case when an employee let the manager know about an ongoing divorce. The manager, out of “kindness”, did not provide appropriate feedback during the focal, severely impacting the employee’s opportunity to grow within the company.

I think the only kind of “personal sharing” that works is “after the fact” kind. One senior executive publicly shared about his child’s severe illness in the previous year, after the child was completely cured. He overcame the challenge, and then shared.

Of course, neutral, everyday sharing of where you went for vacation or the next car you are planning to buy, will most likely not impact your professional life very much.

What do you think? Have you seen or experienced any instances where people shared their personal life at work? How did it turn-out for them?

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3 Responses to ““seek and speak your truth” ~ sheryl sandberg in “lean-in””

  1. Ilene Evans August 27, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    I tend to believe that sharing personal things at work can be a double edged sword. I’ve done it before and it’s helped with certain situations and in others, it has worked against me. But have I cried at work? You bet. Sometimes, that just can’t be stopped. Thanks so much for the mention.

    • deepthoughttoday August 27, 2013 at 4:10 am #

      I’ve seen, and heard from women who cried at work.. Mostly in private. Don’t know if anyone cries in front of a professional colleague, and how that turned out for them.
      Thanks for sharing.


  1. lean-in by sheryl sandberg | deep thought today - August 28, 2013

    […] “seek and speak your truth” ~ sheryl sandberg in “lean-in” (deepthoughttoday.wordpress.com) […]

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