Transparent Leadership Markets Itself

Danielle Putnam
The New Flat Rate, President
Women in HVACR, President

Sheryl Sandberg. All throughout last year, key women in leadership kept mentioning the book ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg. Well, naturally I knew who Sheryl was, not that we were besties, but as the COO of Facebook, who didn’t know who she was?

These women weren’t talking about her book as a thrill-seeking action movie but more in a tone of empowerment. Somehow, I brushed off each mention of the book as if it was just another trendy read.

Fast forward to 2019.

For some reason after the hub bub of the holidays, I found myself browsing the bookshelves of I stumbled across this ‘Lean In’ book that everyone had been talking about ‘last year’ and subconsciously clicked it into my shopping cart. And of course, when shopping on Amazon it’s only “oh, too easy” to buy additional ‘sundries’, impulse items, after you’ve clicked to buy, and that’s what happened to me on this day.

As I added Sheryl’s book to my shopping cart, another book by her popped into view, ‘Option B’. “Oh, what the heck!” I thought to myself as I added it to my cart, too.

I didn’t know what ‘Option B’ was about; it didn’t matter to me. I opened both ‘Lean In’ and ‘Option B’ as soon as they arrived and began reading simultaneously.


In ‘Lean In’, Sheryl is a thriving executive sharing boldness and empowering women to step up as leaders in the work place. In ‘Option B’, her husband, who was CEO of Survey Monkey, tragically died while they vacationed together on a couple’s trip…leaving her as a widow with two young children.

While reading both books simultaneously, I’ll tell you what I’m seeing. The same writer, but not the same person. The difference: Her level of transparency.

Now, I know you have better things to do than to sit there and read my 2019 book reports. But, stay with me. The level of transparency is key.

Have you ever noticed your personal leadership abilities, company growth, or even employee engagement to be sped up and slowed down based on the level of your transparency?

No human deserves tragedy. And, in the case of Sheryl, well to be honest, I haven’t finished both of her books yet, but my heart aches for her as I can’t imagine leading a company such as Facebook, sitting in a board room and struggling to maintain composure during her tragedy.

And, it doesn’t take tragedy for us to become transparent, but doesn’t it take awareness?

But, what does that have to do with Marketing? What does that have to do with marketing at all?

As powerful as she is, Sheryl isn’t all business, and neither is marketing. Transparency is the bridge between our communities, families, business associates and friends.

Transparency is the bridge between our personal purpose and our business purpose.

Isn’t transparency key to leadership? And leadership, well, leadership markets itself.

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