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1 Minute On: Gender Equality

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Jim Citrin the Author of The Career Playbook shares his thoughts on Gender Equality. Please read his full post on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cultivate-mentor-close-gender-gap-james-citrin

In order to thrive in your career, you’ll need to lean on the help of others – whether for gaining access to opportunities, getting advice on difficult questions about what you should do or how to do it. Also, it is important is to have someone else to advocate for you from time to time when it comes to decisions others will make that will affect your livelihood - securing a plumb assignment, earning a promotion, being awarded a raise. These activities go beyond mentorship and into sponsorship, which links advice with tangible action on your behalf. In her book, Lean In for Graduates, Sheryl Sandberg stresses sponsorship’s crucial role in career advancement. “Men and women with sponsors are more likely to ask for stretch assignments and pay raises than their peers of the same gender without sponsors,” she writes.

Most successful people know that it is dangerous to hire people in their own image. But since mentorship is a voluntary activity, many business leaders tend to “mentor in their own image," even if they don’t readily admit it. In observing mentors across various companies and industries, I’ve noticed that mentors often see themselves in their mentees, and academic research confirms this intuition. A study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior found that mentor and sponsor relationships are frequently grounded in shared interests, personalities, and career values.

Common interests can be a powerful way to establish and strengthen the relationship bond. I've overheard mentors talking with young people about anything from organic food, to what school each person attended, to recent movies, modern art, sports, or singing a capella. Often, when the bond becomes stronger, mentees will begin to mimic some of their mentors’ behaviors – their tone of voice, the words or expressions, or the way they sign their emails. The mimicry can even extend to more big-picture characteristics, like their leadership style, the kind of assignments they take on, even the way they dress. The point here is that a valuable mentor is often someone who demonstrates habits and characteristics that you could see yourself coming to emulate.

Read the rest on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cultivate-mentor-close-gender-gap-james-citrin

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