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How to ‘Lean In’ while maintaining your balance

(ENTREPRENEURS) Lean into empowerment through self confidence and learn when to lean back. There is a paradigm shift going on – let’s discuss.

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lean in coding full-stack

Learning about leaning

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term “lean in.” Maybe you’ve even been invited to a local Lean In Circle. Thanks to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 mega hit book Lean In, the phrase is as common to women’s empowerment conversations as any overplayed Beyonce anthem.

More than a book

In fact, the book has spawned its own popular movement complete with campaigns and celebrity backing. Take a look at leanin.org and you’ll find an impressive list of over 90 partners from ESPN to American Express. However, not everyone is buying the popular “lean in” mantra. I can’t put my finger on any one counter-movement. Like a Facebook relationship status, critiques can get complicated, as critics try to re-focus and expand on the book’s hallmark goals.

“Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.” – Sheryl Sandberg

In Lean In, Sandberg’s clearest call to action is on the individual level. Women need to be more self-confident. This means not apologizing for success and stepping up to challenges. Let’s be clear, Sandberg does encourage women supporting other women. Plus, Sandberg’s all for mentorship. However, her plan to increase female leadership is based mainly on an individual call to self-confidence.

Leaning In Together

Some critics see a more team-oriented, collaborative solution. Xero Americas president Keri Gohman agrees with Sandberg’s plea for self-confidence, but also stresses the importance of a support system within the workplace. “This sense of support will stem from building high-functioning teams around you comprised of the best talent” Gohman says in a recent Fortune interview.

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Women’s Startup Lab Founder & CEO Ari Horie shares the same sentiment. In a 2014 Huffington Post blog Horie writes “Sheryl Sandberg told business women to “lean in,” but it’s also important to remember that success in business has more to it than pushing yourself, but it’s about how you leverage opportunities, your skill set and your community.” She goes on to describe the Hito Rule. The Hito Rule, inspired by the Japanese character for “human” also encourages collaboration over simply “leaning in” as an individual.

Leaning Back

Besides leaning on each other, there’s also a growing call for women to lean back. No, I don’t mean kicking back on the futon with a bag of Hot Cheetos all day watching Shark Tank reruns.

Leaning back is about not saying “yes” to everything.

It’s about being a leader by modeling a rested, balanced lifestyle over a frantic work-dominated life. Arianna Huffington has led the charge when it comes to leaning back. For her, it’s not just about more women entering the boardroom. “The new metric of success is well-being” says Huffington in a 2013 Forbes interview.

Policy Change

Some of Sandberg’s loudest critics oppose her book for ignoring the greater policy issues that hinder progress. Lack of paid maternity leave and unequal pay top the list of concerns critics cite. Perhaps the focus on these political issues are even stronger today with a president some call sexist and misogynistic.

As the 4 year anniversary of Lean In’s release approaches, Sandberg’s initial call for women’s empowerment through self confidence is taking a back seat to external calls to action. While I’d be cautious to label the Lean In movement a fad, I do wonder what a Lean In 2.0 would look like. Minus the fanfare and celebrity backing, would Sandberg’s core message resonate with the millions of Women’s March participants? My guess is no.

Today’s discussions regarding women’s empowerment trend more towards changing the system over changing the individual.Click To Tweet It’s a good trend to keep in mind before throwing out the gazillionth call to just “lean in.”

#LeanIn

Staff Writer, Arra Dacquel is a San Francisco based writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Davis and is currently studying web development. She’s obsessed with tech news and corgis, but not in that order.

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Business Entrepreneur

15 tips to spot a toxic work environment when interviewing

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Interviewing can be tricky, but this new infographic will help you look for signs of toxicity before, during, and after the interview.

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Person in an interview

When we’re in the process of job hunting, we’re typically looking because we need a change, for multiple reasons. Any interview sparks hope. Because we’re sometimes so willing to make that change, we often put our blinders on in the hopes that whatever comes is the perfect opportunity for us.

With those blinders, however, it can be common to miss some red flags that tell you what you really need to know about the job you may be applying or interviewing for. Luckily, Resume.io is here to help.

They have developed 15 warning signs in their infographic: How to Spot a Toxic Work Environment Before You Take the Job. Let’s dive in and take a look at these.

First, the preparation before the interview. Red flags can shop up from the get-go. Here’s what to look out for before you even meet face-to-face (or over the phone/Zoom).

  1. Vague job description: If there is nothing substantial about the description of the job itself and only buzzwords like “team player,” be on alert.
  2. Negative Glassdoor reviews: These reviews on company culture are worth taking into account. If multiple people have a recurring issue, it’s something to be aware of.
  3. Arranging an interview is taking forever: If they keep you waiting, it’s typically a sign of disorganization. This may not always be the case, but pay attention to how they’re respecting you and your time.
  4. Your arrival comes as a surprise to them: Again, disorganization. This is also displaying a lack of communication in the company.
  5. The interview starts late: See the last sentence of #3. Not only are they disrespecting your time, but they’re displaying a lack of time management.

Now, for the high-pressure situation: During the interview. Here’s what you need to be keeping an eye on (while simultaneously listing your strengths and weaknesses, of course)

  1. Unpreparedness: If the interviewer is scattered and not prepared for your conversation, this may be a sign that they don’t fully understand the tasks and expectations for the job.
  2. Doesn’t get into your skill set: If they don’t ask about your skills, how can they know what you’re bringing to the table?
  3. Rudeness: If the interviewer is rude throughout the interview or is authoritative (either to you or to a panel who may be present,) be on alert. This is just a sign of what’s to come.
  4. Uncommunicative about company values: If it’s different from what’s on their website or they seem spacey about company values, this is a red flag.
  5. Your questions aren’t being answered: If they’re avoiding answering your questions, they may be hiding an aspect of the job – or the company – that they don’t want to reveal.

Finally, the waiting game. Once the interview is complete, here are some less-than-good things to be on the lookout for. Keep in mind that some of these may be hard to gauge seeing that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and many companies haven’t returned to their offices yet:

  1. Brief interview: If the interview was too short, they are either desperate or have already filled the position. Either way, bad.
  2. Quiet workplace: This may be a sign of a lack of teamwork or a tense environment.
  3. No tour: If you don’t get to see the office, again, they may be hiding something.
  4. Offer on the day of interview: Not giving you time to think may be a sign of desperation.
  5. Leaving you waiting: Again, if they leave you waiting on an answer like they did with scheduling, it’s a sign of disorganization and disrespect.

While one of these 15 things happening doesn’t necessarily mean the job is a bust, a few of these things happening may be an indicator to look elsewhere.

 

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Business Entrepreneur

This startup makes managing remote internships easier for all

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Internships during COVID are tough to manage for many employers, but Symba aims to present a unique solution.

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Internships could be becoming easier to facilitate remotely, wherever you are.

Internships are among the innumerable practices disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some might argue that the loss of the corporate version of hazing that defines many internships is not something to be mourned. But the fact remains that internships are crucial for both employers and employees. Fortunately, a company called Symba might have a solution: Remote internships.

It’s a simple, intuitive solution for the times. That’s why big-name industries like Robinhood and Genentech are turning to Symba for help in constructing their own digital internship platforms.

Symba is, in and of itself, akin to any employee management system. Prospective employees sign into their Symba account via the landing page of the company for whom they are interning, after which point they are able to review their workload for the day. They can also see communications, feedback, other profiles, group projects, and more; they can even access onboarding resources and tutorials for the company in case they get lost along the way.

The key difference between Symba and other management tools—such as Slack—is that Symba was built from the ground up to facilitate actionable experience for interns at little to no detriment to the company in question. This means that interns have a consistent onboarding, collaborative, and working experience across the board—regardless of which company they’re representing at the time.

Symba even has a five-star ranking system that allows employers to create and quantify areas of proficiency at their discretion. For example, if an intern’s roles include following up with clients via email or scheduling meetings, an employer could quickly create categories for these tasks and rate the intern’s work on the aforementioned scale. Interns are also able to ask for feedback if they aren’t receiving it.

While Symba doesn’t facilitate communications between interns, it does include Slack integration for the purposes of collaboration and correspondence as needed.

On the managerial side, employers can do everything from the previously mentioned rating to delegating tasks and reviewing reports. All data is saved in Symba’s interface so that employers have equal access to information that might inspire a hiring.

While it’s possible that Symba will struggle to maintain relevance during non-internship months, the fact remains that it is an exceptionally viable solution to an otherwise finicky problem during these trying times—and some employers may even find it viable enough to continue using it post-pandemic.

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Business Entrepreneur

Zen, please: Demand for mental health services surges during pandemic

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) 2020 has been an exceptionally hard year for many on a mental front. How has COVID-19 changed the mental health landscape?

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Man leaning against tree, affected by mental health.

As the pandemic stretches on, it continues to affect everything from jobs to plastic bags, but one major shift has come with mental health. According to the National Council for Mental Health, while demand for mental health services is up 52%, the capacity of mental health organizations have actually diminished. So…what does this mean?

Mental health startups get a boost

From tele-health to mindfulness apps, venture capital investments for mental health startups have already surpassed what was earned in 2019. And it makes sense; as more people are isolated for long stretches of time, there has become a greater demand for digital mental wellness services.

With COVID-19 predicted to spike again in the coming months, combined with shorter spans of daylight and less welcoming weather, the desire for these sorts of businesses isn’t likely to fade. If you have an idea for a neat app or website to help with mental well-being in some way, now is prime time to release it.

Companies increase mental health options

As the pandemic rages on, many companies have started to partner with mental health solutions for their employees. For instance, Starbucks has started offering free therapy sessions to employees through the mental wellness provider Lyra, and Zoom began to offer mental health seminars.

Of course, while smaller companies might not have the means to provide specific therapy, many companies have gotten creative with how they’re looking out for employees’ mental and emotional well-being. From providing virtual meditation sessions, to increasing self-managed leave, to connecting employees through book clubs or happy hours, there are a variety of ways that any company can help employees manage their psyche during these difficult times.

Resources are more accessible

Although therapy and similar apps do cost money (many apps include a monthly fee for the services provided), there are plenty of low cost alternatives available for those having a hard time. For example, many sites are offering free trials to services. There are also plenty of free or low-cost apps available to help you do anything from track your moods to manage your breathing. Or check out YouTube for videos to help with yoga or meditation.

While these resources are not a replacement for medication or talk therapy, they can help mediate some of the increased strain on our mental state that many of us are feeling right now.

In case of an emergency, there is also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available by phone call or chat 24 hours a day. If you or someone you know is struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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