What Men Can Do to Be Better Mentors and Sponsors to Women
Harvard Business Review
This article explores the need for companies to develop sponsorship programs to uplift the diverse talent in their organizations. The article provides eight key recommendations for leaders and companies to improve their sponsorship programs:
- Identify high potential diverse talent: Sponsors should look for driven and ambitious individuals with different experiences and perspectives from their own. They should seek the help of HR and other leaders if needed.
- Determine the best stretch role: Sponsors should support protégés for opportunities with high visibility that would benefit both the individual as well as the business. Some conditions to identify the best opportunities are: high risk, involve working with strategic clients, an assignment ofstrategic importance to the business, starting something new, etc.
- Position the role: Sponsors should consistently encourage protégés to overcome barriers and give them confidence to advance their position in a given company.
- Provide opportunities for development and support: Sponsors should support their protégés in achieving the skills and expertise needed to succeed. Furthermore, they should ensure that these resources are provided by their organization. Additionally, the organization should educate sponsors on the unique challenges faced by more vulnerable groups, including women of colour.
- Pave the way: Sponsors should take the responsibility of introducing their protégés to relevant influential individuals in their network that would benefit their success.
- Ensure protégés receive candid, performance-based feedback: Sponsors should ensure that their protégés receive clear assessments of their performance with specific guidance to help them improve their results and promote career development.
- Help protégés persist: Sponsors must ensure that their organization supports their protégé in light of mistakes or criticism from others.
- Champion promotions and recognition: Sponsors should outwardly advocate for their protégés to receive raises, promotions, and recognition if deserving.
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