Having a Protégé Will Make You a Better Leader

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

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When a senior leader sponsors a junior employee, supporting and advocating for them, it’s obvious that the junior person gains a lot. But so does the senior leader. A good protégé expands your worldview and helps you fill gaps in your skill set and knowledge — which can lead to tangible benefits such as promotions and stretch assignments.

o To cultivate this type of sponsoring relationship, seek out a protégé who is a high performer and trustworthy. This person’s reputation will become intertwined with your own, so consider how their actions at work may reflect on you.

o And while protégés don’t have to be young, they should be different from you, perhaps in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, professional background, or life experience. Think about where your blind spots are, or what areas you wish you knew more about, and use those insights to inform your decision.

o Also think about what you’re an expert in and who might need that expertise.

When managed well, a sponsoring relationship will help both of you rise and thrive.

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Here’s a direct link to dozens of other Management Tips.

This Tip is adapted from Sylvia Ann Hewlett”s latest book, The Sponsor Effect, published by Harvard Business Review Press (June 2019).


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