Grace Chon

How to Do Sponsorship Right

Herminia Ibarra Career Management,   Leadership Harvard Business Review

Mentoring programs operate under the promise that matching seasoned executives with up-and-coming professionals will produce all sorts of benefits. Unfortunately, relationships often remain superficial and transactional. These problems have only gotten worse with remote and hybrid work, which makes meaningful personal interaction difficult.

To reap the full benefits of developmental relationships and create “authentic sponsorship,” companies must focus on two vital qualities: public advocacy and relational authenticity. Public advocacy is a one-way process by which “seniors” use their power to help “juniors” get career opportunities. It produces visible and measurable outcomes, such as promotions and stretch assignments. Relational authenticity is a two-way process in which both parties share their perspectives and make themselves open to hearing and learning from each other. Juniors get the support and validation they need to take on new challenges, and seniors understand where their juniors’ capabilities and talents lie and care enough about them to put their own reputations on the line.

This article lays out the various stages of the journey to authentic sponsorship: mentor, strategizer, connector, opportunity giver, and sponsor.

Want More Diverse Senior Leadership? Sponsor Junior Talent.

Herminia Ibarra and Nana von Bernuth Leadership HBR

Sponsorship is emerging as a valuable tool for increasing diversity in an organization’s senior ranks. The authors define sponsorship as “a helping relationship in which seHernior, powerful people use their personal clout to talk up, advocate for, and place a more junior person in a key role.” In this piece, they define a number of specific do’s and don’t’s that …

The questions every corporate innovation leader asks about culture, answered

Thomas Brown, Herminia Ibarra Leadership Sifted

In part four of #FutureProofonCulture, we put some of the most common culture questions to a renowned expert in organisational behaviour BY THOMAS BROWN / 30 NOVEMBER 2021 Creating an innovation culture is a complex task of orchestrating people, teams and mindsets, and no matter how many management books you read it is always unpredictable.  There are certain aspects that seem to …

The 3 Phases of Making a Major Life Change

Herminia Ibarra Leadership HBR

The lockdown that we’ve all just lived through created a period during which a lot of people had the opportunity to reflect on plans for a career change. But reflection alone doesn’t get people very far. Those who are mostly likely to act during this kind of period are those who actively engage in a three-part cycle of transition — …

Five leadership skills for the future


Today, and even more so in the years ahead, we need leaders who can help transform their firms—so they become more agile, more innovative, more digitally savvy, more customer-centric, more inclusive, and more human. The problems to be solved—and opportunities to be seized—increasingly present what Harvard Kennedy School professor Ronald Heifetz calls “adaptive challenges,” complex situations in which there isn’t …

Why killing the office won’t close the gender gap


Before this pandemic, research suggested women benefited more from working from home than men. But there are three factors that indicate women are going to be at a disadvantage if we continue to work remotely. Stay-at-home orders for the COVID-19 pandemic were put in place almost overnight, removing us from the office and abruptly transforming how most of us work. …

Why WFH Isn’t Necessarily Good for Women


By altering attitudes toward working from home (WFH), COVID-19 may have forever changed the way we work. According to a new MIT study, half of those who were employed before the pandemic are now working remotely. As company executives see for themselves that excellent work can be achieved, and productivity heightened, even in jobs that no one imagined could be done virtually, a …