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Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

A book review

The book fueled my passion for empowering Christian women leaders to lead in a ministry context. I was convicted to tell more of my story—to be honest with others about my leadership experiences in hopes that they will be encouraged and equipped to lead and pastor others. I also want to help redefine success for women leaders: as Sheryl wrote, it's not about getting to the top of the ladder. I think it's about leaning in to who God is creating us to be and leading with that woman in mind.

What my book club had to say:

Lean In led to some passionate discussion for an early Saturday morning. We felt the book affirmed our leadership gifts and goals in so many ways. This assertion from the book really struck us: "Staying quiet and fitting in may have been all the first generations of women who entered corporate America could do; in some cases it might still be." If you replaced "corporate America" with "ministry," this statement would still be true. Our group is lucky—we all have served in churches or ministries that valued our gifts and invited our voices. But we know the reality is our experience is still the minority when it comes to women leading in ministry.

Sheryl's words challenged us to lead even more intentionally—to leverage our influence and prepare a better experience for the women behind us. We each asked what this would look like for us. For one, it was to be more visible—to put her name in the hat and not wait on someone to call on her. For another friend, her takeaway was to continue to speak up and challenge senior leadership. Just like the women leading before us, we must continue to take on the "firsts" in our leadership context so women in leadership roles behind us will move from being the exception to the expectation.

Twitter-worthy quotes:

"When negotiating, think personally, act communally."

"Of all the ways women hold themselves back, perhaps the most pervasive is that they leave before they leave."

"Done is better than perfect."

Other books I would recommend along these lines:

Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina

No Higher Honor by Condoleezza Rice

Julie Pierce empowers leaders to change the world through coaching, consulting teams, and communicating with groups. You can follow her on Twitter at julie_pierce or read her leadership blog at www.empoweredbypierce.com.

August12, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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