Sheryl Sandberg has one of the most coveted work histories in the tech industry today.
In addition to her prominent role as Facebook's chief operating officer, the bestselling author of "Lean In" has been at the forefront of the push for greater diversity and equality in the workforce.
In a conversation with Shonda Rhimes for The Hollywood Reporter, Sandberg shares three pieces of advice she wishes to give anyone who is just starting out or already in their career.
"The first thing I would tell men and women is that biases are real, but you can correct them — on every level," says Sandberg. "For example, when women are getting interrupted, you can interrupt the interrupter, even if you are the junior manager."
She tells Rhimes that our inability to acknowledge these biases can be linked to many of the problems we face in the workforce today.
"We need to know that 'angry,' 'emotional' and 'aggressive' are labels applied to certain women," she says. "Once you know that, when you hear someone say 'angry,' when you hear someone say 'emotional,' when you hear someone say 'aggressive,' you or someone else can say, 'Wait a second, no, no, no, no,' and theoretically rip that cover off."
Regardless of your position within an organization, she says, you have the power to correct these biases.
"The second thing I would tell everyone, especially men, is that it is in your interest to do so," says Sandberg.
She adds that calling out any biases you see will not only make you a trusted colleague but will also show that you are willing to work with everyone fairly.
"I think that's very compelling," she says. "If you're the one all the minorities and women want to work with, you're going to outperform."
Regardless of the challenges you face and the discouraging remarks from others, Sandberg advises everyone to continue to take risks and pursue their goals.
"Don't let anyone tell you you can't," she says. "You can. You're going to be told you can't over and over. They're wrong. You can and you should."
Leaning in with confidence is what has led to Sandberg's success, and she's made it clear throughout her career that it is one of the keys to getting ahead.
"Confidence and leadership are muscles," she said at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Houston. "You learn to use them or lose them."
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