Keep Sex Out of Sponsorship

Man and woman chatting over a cup of coffee inside a cafe or restaurantPresume innocence and take these 14 precautionary steps.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

If you are concerned about the possibility of sex-related problems, consider the degree of risk involved and whether you are willing to assume it.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Image Often Carries ‘Double Bind’ Baggage  | Sponsorship Best Practices, Early and Ongoing | 3 Ways to Wreck a Woman’s Career | 4 Reasons Women Say No to Leadership | Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm | Sponsor or Mentor? | Being the Best Means Including Women
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Before you decide, consider
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When Coworkers Fight Flexible Scheduling

Man's finger pointing to watchSaboteurs can step in when they don't realize they can benefit, too.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

A talented, ambitious woman who works less than full time or takes extended family leave is extremely vulnerable to being derailed professionally.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Image Often Carries ‘Double Bind’ Baggage  | 9 Ways to Help Your Protégée Land Better Assignments | The Political Cost of Sponsorship | Don’t Let Gossip Interfere | Women Fight ‘Kids First’ Perception | 3 Changes for Men to Make | 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women
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Whether because she is “out of sight/out of mind,” or because people doubt her commitment, she may be disregarded for promotions or high-profile projects.
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Image Often Carries ‘Double Bind’ Baggage

Black woman working at deskHow to provide 'soft skills' advice.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Feedback is important at any level of professional development.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 9 Ways to Help Your Protégée Land Better Assignments | Steer Your Protégée to Opportunities | 4 Keys to Pairing Sponsors, Protégées | 4 Ways to Help Women Seek Power | Women Judged on Performance, Men on Potential | 3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women
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But for a woman trying to become a leader, honest, clear and practical feedback is essential. She needs to know both how well she is performing and how to project the image she wants others to have of her.
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9 Ways to Help Your Protégée Land Better Assignments

Woman shaking hands with a man as another man looks onHow are you promoting her to your coworkers?

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Promoting your protégée to others is an important part of sponsorship.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Steer Your Protégée to Opportunities | Sponsorship Best Practices, Early and Ongoing | 3 Ways to Wreck a Woman’s Career | 4 Reasons Women Say No to Leadership | Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm | Sponsor or Mentor?
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Here are nine concrete steps:
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Steer Your Protégée to Opportunities

Stylized industrial 3D number 88 ways to guide her.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Once you have identified a woman to sponsor and determined that you click, you may be wondering how to get started.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Sponsorship Best Practices, Early and Ongoing | The Political Cost of Sponsorship | Don’t Let Gossip Interfere | 4 Ways to Help Women Seek Power | 4 Reasons Women Say No to Leadership | Women Fight ‘Kids First’ Perception | Women Judged on Performance, Men on Potential | Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm | 3 Changes for Men to Make | 3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders | Sponsor or Mentor? | 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women
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Here are some concrete steps to take:
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Sponsorship Best Practices, Early and Ongoing

Younger businesswoman and older businessman smiling and talking in office hallway17 ways both parties can make it work.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

When you sponsor a woman, there are many steps that you can take to ensure that the relationship is productive and achieves its objectives.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: The Political Cost of Sponsorship | 4 Keys to Pairing Sponsors, Protégées | 4 Ways to Help Women Seek Power | Women Judged on Performance, Men on Potential | 3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women
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Here are some tips for getting off to a strong start and following through effectively, especially by focusing on career opportunities and promoting your protégée to others.
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The Political Cost of Sponsorship

Woman and Man Working with CalculatorYou may be wondering if you can afford it.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Most sponsorship occurs informally, without any structured or programmatic context. Informal sponsor-protégée relationships usually start in one of three ways.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 4 Keys to Pairing Sponsors, Protégées | 3 Ways to Wreck a Woman’s Career | 4 Reasons Women Say No to Leadership | Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm | Sponsor or Mentor?
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The most common way is when a senior manager or partner

  • identifies someone as a star performer,
  • believes that she has what it takes to succeed and
  • wants to make that success happen.

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