Don’t Let Gossip Interfere

Three coworkers whispering about another passing byKeep things professional and there’ll be no reason to worry.

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

A close work relationship between a man and a woman can generate sexual tensions in one or both of them.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 4 Ways to Help Women Seek Power | 4 Reasons Women Say No to Leadership | Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm | Sponsor or Mentor? | 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women

When the man is older and powerful and the woman is young and ambitious, the potential for complications is even greater.
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4 Ways to Help Women Seek Power

Business team including young womanAnd why some women resist using networks.

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

Women tend to have a limited appreciation of how their networks can help them get ahead professionally. Developing strong business networks is critical for career advancement. Because a leader operates through others, her value and effectiveness are largely tied to the power of her network.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders | 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders

Yet women are reluctant to cultivate potential sponsors through their networks, while men willingly use patronage and networks to open doors and provide opportunities that cannot be accessed through normal channels. Men attribute their promotions to personal connections as a matter of pride, not embarrassment, because it means that influential people see them as leaders and reward them accordingly. As a result, men benefit from the political processes that go on all around them while women lose out.
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4 Reasons Women Say No to Leadership

Serious businesswoman holding up hand in stop signalPLUS: Politics vs. performance.

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

Many women are uncomfortable calling attention to their achievements and ambitions, dislike politics, have difficulty asking others for a career boost or underestimate the importance of powerful backers. That makes it harder for potential sponsors to recognize how worthy these women are of their support.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Women Fight ‘Kids First’ Perception | Women Judged on Performance, Men on Potential | 3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women

Some women hurt their own chances for sponsorship by failing to let sponsors know what they want and why they merit it. Sponsors are drawn to star performers who display confidence and a drive to succeed. Where a man might insist he is the right person for a job and asks to be promoted, a woman who is equally or even better qualified may downplay her qualifications for the job. Instead of aggressively pursuing promotions and opportunities, she waits to be asked, and then, when asked, may turn the offer down. Why?
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Women Fight ‘Kids First’ Perception

Mother and daughterBias persists that work will suffer.

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

One pattern of gender bias is exhibiting “maternal wall” bias, which leads people to believe that women with children are unable to meet the demands of leadership.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Women Judged on Performance, Men on Potential | Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm | Sponsor or Mentor? | Being the Best Means Including Women

People assume that women with children are less committed to their work.
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Women Judged on Performance, Men on Potential

Businessman and businesswoman standing back to backIt’s the 21st century and the standards still differ.

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

Common patterns of gender bias include holding women to higher standards than men and expressing contradictory expectations (“double binds”) for women.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 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

Different standards: People expect more of women than of men and they hold women to higher standards. This sets the bar higher for women who aspire to leadership and makes it more difficult for them to prove their value to the organization, even though research shows that women outperform men in 17 of 67 critical leadership skills, while men outperform women in only four.
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How to Find and Fix Gender Bias at Your Firm

Businesswoman opens door to brick wall5 ways women get shoved aside.

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

Gender bias reflects entrenched beliefs and assumptions about women based on stereotypes about appropriate roles and behaviors for women.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 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

Unconscious thoughts about the kinds of work women are and are not suited for, especially if they are mothers, remove highly qualified women from consideration for leadership opportunities and positions.
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3 Changes for Men to Make

Scrambled thoughts enter man's head, straightened ones come outHow they can start seeing women as leaders.

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

Let’s assume a powerful man works with two junior colleagues, a man and a woman, who are both equally talented, motivated and superbly skilled performers. According to what we know from research and experience, that powerful man is more likely to sponsor the man than the woman.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 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

Why is that? What factors go into a sponsor’s calculation about where to place his most active support and for whom to expend his political capital? And why don’t more women come across as “leadership material,” even when their talents and abilities should make them great candidates? I have some answers.
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3 Ways Women Benefit When Seen as Leaders

Young businesswoman and businessman talking in a hallwayThe advice is great, but they’d prefer being considered for a promotion.

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

The benefits of sponsorship are indisputable. Having a highly placed sponsor is a distinct career advantage, and when competing for top positions it can be a critical differentiator.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: Sponsor or Mentor? | 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women

Protégées gain career-enhancing opportunities that others do not get, such as:
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Sponsor or Mentor?

Young businesswoman working at laptop while businessman looks onPlus 18 ways to boost your protégée.

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

The practice of mentorship is well known and well established in today’s workplace. A mentor is someone who helps a more junior person learn, develop and achieve her professional goals.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: 4 Firm Benefits of Sponsoring Women as Leaders | Being the Best Means Including Women

Mentoring is the process by which the mentor and mentee work together to identify and help the mentee move toward those goals. But sponsorship is intended specifically to promote career advancement.
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