6 ways to #LeanInTogether, according Lena Dunham and Sheryl Sandberg

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Photo: Lenny Letter/collage by Emma Dajska, photo by Allan Zepeda
When Sheryl Sandberg started her Lean In non profit (a spinoff of her megapopular book of the same name) she called women to action in the workplace—asking them to stand up and fight for the respect, positions, and salaries they deserved.

It sparked a national conversation on women in the workplace and encouraged them to reach for the power and positions they want—something Sandberg knows quite a bit about, considering she’s the chief operating officer of a little company called Facebook.

But, when her husband died suddenly last year, she truly began to realize that her go-to slogan wasn’t just a solo endeavor, but a group one—you’re able to lean in because of the women who surround and support you.

That’s the reasoning behind the nonprofit’s latest campaign Together Women Can—or #LeanInTogether—which features celebrity endorsers such as Emma Watson, Kerry Washington, and Selena Gomez discussing the women who inspired them on their paths to success, plus articles and tips on how women can support one another in different roles across both professional and personal spaces.

Another celebrity endorser who’s strongly behind the campaign? Lena Dunham. The famously feminist starlet even dedicated her Lenny Letter newsletter to the effort, interviewing Sandberg herself on how to bring other women along when you lean in at the workplace.

The two powerhouse women discussed real issues that happen, effective solutions for working through them, and techniques for upping your professional game—all while supporting the women around you.

Scroll down to see just a few Sandberg’s inspiring and practical tips for how to #LeanIn in the workplace.

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1. Stand up for each other

“Women don’t get credit for their own ideas. Often they have the experience of a man sharing the same idea later at a meeting and being told it’s genius. Help other women get credit by saying, ‘I loved when Lena said that five minutes ago, and I’m glad you brought it up again,'” Sandberg says. “It’s a great move that helps everyone. The woman who helps looks communal and fosters goodwill, and the woman with the great idea gets credit.”


2. Get behind ideas, not gender

“We have to correct for the biases women face. You shouldn’t feel obligated to support a woman because she is a woman, but because you believe in her ideas and capabilities. It’s the right thing to do, and it creates a work environment that is better for everyone,” she says.


3. Emotion is allowed

“You can be the boss and still be terrified, still have the desire to make everyone comfortable. And it’s a strange divide. You’re in charge but still beholden to other people.”


4. All successful women have one thing in common

“When you look at successful women, they have other women who have supported them, and they’ve gotten to where they are because of those women,” she says.


5. Age does not define a role model

“People think they can only learn from older people,” says Sandberg, who told Dunham she learned more about finding her own voice from her than anyone else. “Everyone older than me told me not to take jobs at Google or Facebook—they didn’t think Google or Facebook were going to be huge—but my peers did!”


6. Grow the #girlpower cycle

“When we help each other, it’s a self-reinforcing positive cycle,” Sandberg says. “When we support each other, we grow. And once you get to critical mass, it’s much better for all of us.

Make this the best professional year of your life—here’s what successful women do (almost) every day. And, while you’re at it, why not strengthen your friendships with a women’s circle? Here’s how to host one at home.

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