How Sponsorship Can Push Women Leaders Through the Glass Ceiling
“If you enhance the diversity and perspectives and ways of thinking about a problem based on different life experiences, different approaches, you create more opportunity for innovation.”
–Kent Gardiner, Chair of Crowell & Moring
In my previous blog post, I wrote about what the business world would look like if we had more women in top leadership roles.
According to research by Dr. Alice Eagly, a top scholar on gender and leadership, women are more likely than men to possess transformational leadership qualities. Leaders with these qualities are more likely to develop their employees, listen effectively, encourage innovation, inspire their employees, and behave ethically.
Sponsorship is different from mentorship in several ways. It helps the sponsored person by listening, offering advice, encouraging and also paving the way for a career path. Women who have had a sponsor often have more successful careers and reach higher levels of leadership.
A sponsor is someone in a position of power who will clear obstacles, foster connections, assign high-profile work, and provide support. He or she can pave the way for your career development.
As a woman, how do you find a sponsor?
Earn it: Deliver outstanding results and/or have a distinct perspective that benefits the team.
Find a member of your “tribe:” People prefer to sponsor people who are like them, whether it’s others from the same gender, background, or culture.
Look for a company with a formal sponsorship program: According to this article on LinkedIn, nearly one-third of the protégés at Bristol-Myers Squibb have been promoted, as have one-third of the sponsors.
Have you been sponsored, or acted as one? What benefits did you reap that would not have been possible without sponsorship? We would like to hear your sponsorship story and how it impacted your career.
If you found this article helpful and think someone else would benefit as well, remember, sharing is caring - thank you!