As you graduate today, ask yourself, how will you lead. Will you use simple and clear language? Will you seek out honest feedback?
When you get honesty feedback, will you react with anger or with gratitude?
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 very 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.
I don't believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time.
That kind of division probably never worked, but in today's world, with real and authentic voice, it makes even less sense.
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.
I try to be myself – 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.
As part of bringing my whole self to work, 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.
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 really right outside my office."
But the lack of progress we've made in the past decade has convinced me we need to start talking about this.
I graduated from HBS in 1995 and I thought it was completely clear that by the time someone from my year was invited to speak at this podium, we would have achieved equality in the workforce.
But women at the top — C-level jobs — are stuck at 15-16 percent and have not moved in a decade.
Not even close to 50% and worse no longer growing.
We need to acknowledge openly that gender remains an issue at the highest levels of leadership.
The promise of equality is not equality. We need to start talking about this.