Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook executive says female workers should cry at work

The chief operating officer of the newly floated technology company suggested that women should not be afraid to show their emotions in the workplace.

The 42 year-old claimed female workers should be honest about their femininity rather attempting to climb the corporate ladder by behaving like their male colleagues.
Business experts cast doubt on her comments, pointing to previous research which shows such practices can be detrimental for career progression.

In a speech to graduating students at Harvard Business School, Boston, she told how showing her personal side had helped her rise to the top of in Silicon Valley while addressing gender issues at work.
 Mrs Sandberg, who is reported to earn about $300,000 (£195,000) a year, constantly talked about her “hopes and fears” and how she is honest in conveying her true feelings in stark contrast to lying about her thoughts.

The former Google executive, whose shares in the company are reported to be worth more than $1.2bn (£780 million), told aspiring entrepreneurs: “I've cried at work. I've told people I've cried at work.
"And it's been reported in the press that Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg's shoulder, which is not exactly what happened. I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs.”

The mother-of-two, who has been married twice, added: “I try to be myself. (I am) honest about my strengths and weaknesses and I encourage others to do the same.

“It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.“I recently started speaking up about the challenges women face in the workforce, something I only had the courage to do in the last few years.”

She continued: “Before this, I did my career like everyone else does it. I never told anyone I was a girl. Don't tell. I left the lights on when I went home to do something for my kids.”

“I locked my office door and pumped milk for my babies while I was on conference calls.
“People would ask, ‘what's that sound?’ I would say ‘What sound?’ ‘I hear a beep.’ ‘Oh, there's a fire truck outside my office’.”  But Mrs Sandberg, who quit her government job in 2001 to move to California, warned that those who shed “crocodile” tears in the workplace were deemed to failure.

She added: “As we strive to be more authentic in our communication, we should also strive to be more authentic in a broader sense.

“I talk a lot about bringing your whole self to work – something I believe in deeply.“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. But it also comes from working with people we care about. And in order to care about someone, you have to know them.

 “You have to know what they love and hate, what they feel, not just what they think. If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind.”

 Previous studies have shown that women were more likely than men to cry at work because males are often taught not to cry in public.  Some of have shown that crying because of a family tragedy was deemed acceptable in some circumstances, it was widely seen as unacceptable in a public meeting or because of work stress.

In her speech Mrs Sandberg, who graduated from the Harvard Business School with Masters of Business Administration in 1995, told the crowd that her boss, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, was 11 years old when she graduated.

Mrs Sandberg, the former vice president of global online sales and operations at Google and chief of staff for the US Treasury Department, also gave advice on having clear differences between work and a personal life.

 “I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time,” she said.

“That kind of division probably never worked, but in today’s world, with a real voice, an authentic voice, it makes even less sense.”

“There aren’t enough senior women out there ... so it falls upon the men who are graduating today just as much, or more than the women, not just to talk about gender but to help these women succeed.”

Mrs Sandberg, one of the few female executives of a major technology company who was this year named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, is said to be one of the driving forces behind Facebook’s phenomenal growth and success in recent years.

 But the company’s gloss has been tarnished since its botched launch on Wall Street.
Shares in Facebook have dropped below the $30 mark, capping what has been hailed as the most disastrous start to trading of any major flotation in the last decade.

The social network has lost more than a fifth of its value since its faltering Wall Street debut on May 18, while its 28-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg has been honeymooning in Rome. It is now unlikely to recover in the short term, analysts claimed.

After placing at $38, Facebook’s shares briefly peaked at $45 before sinking back to $38.25 on their first day of trading. They have fallen every day since then, and today plummeted nearly 10pc to a low of $28.84 at the close in New York.Facebook and its Wall Street advisers are already being sued by investors who lost out in the $16bn (£10.39bn) IPO.

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22 April 2024

21 04 2024