All mentoring is not created equal, we discovered. There is a special kind of relationship—called sponsorship—in which the mentor goes beyond giving feedback and advice and uses his or her influence with senior executives to advocate for the mentee. Our interviews and surveys alike suggest that high-potential women are overmentored and undersponsored relative to their male peers—and that they are not advancing in their organizations. Furthermore, without sponsorship, women not only are less likely than men to be appointed to top roles but may also be more reluctant to go for them.The article is a bit anecdotal in parts, but has some underlying interesting ideas in it that are grounded in research. I'm not sure how applicable it is to academic careers, but having a mentor who in addition to giving you advice can help sell you and your ideas to others (institutional peers, editors, etc) is almost always, in my experience, a helpful thing.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Very interesting article in The Harvard Business Review on male vs. female mentoring, and the difference it can make in business contexts.