In Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In she talks about the importance of sitting at the table.
I had been meaning to read the book for some time, and I’m glad I finally made the time, if only for this point. She encourages individuals, women in particular, to not wait to be invited to sit at the table.
She cited an example of an important business meeting where a few women sat off to the side. That also meant they were not included in the conversation and the decision making.
As an introvert, it’s more natural for me to want to sit off to the side and absorb. However, I learned early on that I not only need to sit at the table, but that I must “raise my hand and keep it up.”
If an agenda is available ahead of time, I review it to determine the areas where I might best contribute.
Another way to think about being seated at the table, is to not wait to be told what to do. To succeed, Sandberg says, it’s important to seize opportunities and make them fit for you.
In my last position, I seized an opportunity to develop the organization’s social media strategy and jump start it. It was a great learning opportunity, and has proven invaluable as I now have more communications platforms available to share content.
Through NFPW and other organizations I have seized opportunities by volunteering for positions that not only helped me gain new skills, but also provided me with leadership roles.
Are you ready for a seat at the table?