Sheryl Sandberg has always been a power woman. In 2013, the Facebook COO coined the term "lean in," with her (in)famous book of the same title. Two years later, she somehow endured many women's worst nightmare when her husband, Dave Goldberg, died from unexpected heart failure. Two years after that, she's now back in the conversations of women all over the world thanks to Option B, her new book about that time.
Because Sandberg has become an advocate for grief.
She's leading the charge on . She has advice for parents of kids dealing with loss. And for anyone unsure of what to say to someone grieving. She's also drawing attention to another important role at such times: the boss. More specifically, the good boss. Even more specifically, Mark Zuckerberg.
"Mark is why I’m walking," she told The Guardian in a recent interview.
"Most of what [he and Priscilla] did is not even in the book, because they did so much. When I felt so overwhelmed and so isolated and just needed to cry, I would grab him into his conference room and he would just sit there with me and be like, 'We’re going to get through this and we want to get through it with you.' He did it over and over."
Zuckerberg's support wasn't always so direct. Sandberg explains that one of the key roles he played in the months after Goldberg's death was to remind her of who she was. When she returned to the office, Sandberg was a mess. But Zuckerberg restored her confidence. And he did this largely by treating her…pretty much normally.
After telling her to take the time she needed, he backtracked, Sandberg told Time. "He said, 'Actually I’m really glad you were here today. You made two really good points—here’s what they were.'"
The Time interview unpacks the legacy this had on the way Sandberg manages people now.
"She no longer automatically diverts work from people facing personal adversity," writes Belinda Luscombe. "Because, counterintuitively, relieving people of some of their responsibilities could mean denying them a way of finding their bearings."
For Sandberg, Zuckerberg's reminder that she had a role to play—a role only she could perform—became an anchor. The feeling of being needed, and therefore of not being a victim, or someone who's been broken by circumstances, who can and will still function, and live on.
H/t: The Guardian