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The Importance of Mentors and Sponsors

The Importance of Mentors and Sponsors
I probably mentor 50 to 70 people and I would say maybe 10 years ago we put a formal mentorship program in place in my department and people got to pick their mentors. And two gentleman picked me to mentor them. And it was really interesting because both of them were underperforming. And I knew they thought that if they latched onto me that that would be their key, and I found it extremely irritating actually. Neither of them are here anymore. That’s not cuz they chose me as their mentor, but they did under perform. I think apprenticenceship leads to mentorship right?
So if you start with the mind set that you want to help groups of people be successful, there are connections that are formed. And they’re normally formed out of either a work bond or a non work bond but something of common interest. And they just grow over time and you realize that you’ve got these people that are really critical for you in terms of having someone to go to to get advice about your career. Now I contrast that to sponsors, because sponsors are not necessarily the people that you’re going to go to get advice on how to do your job. But everybody needs sponsors. People need someone or someones.
And I like it to be more than one person, because if your sponsor’s an individual, and poof, your sponsor’s gone, then you don’t have a sponsor anymore. But sponsors are people that really engage, and have a vested interest in your success and growth, because they recognize your talent. And I think you need both to be successful.
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Managing Talent

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