Lean In

I saw The Post this weekend.  I am a huge movie fan; I see pretty much everything.  But I have been particularly excited for this one.  Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks…together for the first time…I knew it would be good.  And it did not disappoint.

There were many relevant themes in the film, but I was particularly taken by the struggle of Katharine Graham, the longtime publisher of The Washington Post, to lean in during one of the most important decisions in her paper’s history.  While there was no doubt some poetic license taken to heighten the story, Graham herself spoke of this in her autobiography.  Women in her era were not often in powerful positions or taken seriously in powerful conversations.  In fact, she thought nothing of it when her father handed control over the paper to her husband instead of to her.

Of course in the film, as in real life, she did find her voice.

It reminded me of Sheryl Sandberg’s TED Talk and book Lean In.  But lest anyone think this is just about women, it is not.

I am not always as confident as I should be. Many of us, men, women, old, young, are not always as confident as we should be.   We all struggle at times to find our voice. But find it we must.  Our families and friends, our communities, our organizations are counting on it.

I have writtten about this before.  In one of my favorite blogs,  Own Your Power  , I wrote about the need to find your voice and to do what must be done for the organziation.

The best leaders are good people who are willing to do what is necessary to move the organization forward. They have moved past the fear that others might not like them. They are willing to make decisions and to own the consequences. They share the credit, and they take the blame. And people respond well to them. We want strong leaders who are knowledgeable and decisive. We want leaders who will take responsibility and have the difficult conversations. The best leaders do not necessarily enjoy conflict, but they do not shy away from it.

I was reminded of all of this during the film.  No, this is not about women.  This is about all people.  It is not easy to find your voice.  But find it we must.

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