Leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility. When leaders commit to developing others, their goal should be to bring the unique gifts of that individual to the forefront. It’s not about trying to lead them on your same career path, but to help them find their own inner compass to lead with. It’s about increasing their skills, adding your experience and perspective, and exposing them to opportunities they can’t see.
Good leaders look behind them and create opportunities to develop rising stars. For those just hearing about TWOthroughYOU, join other leaders in making a commitment to sponsor two women to accelerate their careers. This is the second part of a five-part series on how to be a good Sponsor for these women.
The acronym S.P.A.R.K., is a simple guideline of actions sponsors can take to accelerate the career of their sponsorees.
Last week, we discussed the “S” in S.P.A.R.K., which stands for: Shine a light on your sponsoree and advocate on her behalf. If you missed that blog, you can check it out here. This week, our focus is on the letter “P”, which stands for:
Provide access to your powerful network.
Last month at Leadership Atlanta Women’s Forum, I listened to a panel of top executives share insights on how female leaders can “power up” their own game. I was thrilled that Lynn Zappone, former CHRO of Popeye’s, made the point that women should help more women accelerate their careers by turning a spotlight on their successes and capabilities:
“Shining a light on her doesn’t diminish your own glow. It actually makes you shine brighter.”
When I raised my children, I had a parenting philosophy that you prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. But in the business world, this philosophy has proven time and again to fall short for women. If we are ever going to change the paradigm of too few women in leadership roles, then we need to prepare more paths. Women need sponsors. Sponsors do more than mentors. Sponsors use their senior positions, experience, and connections to advocate on behalf of their sponsorees. They push women forward and pull them up.
What is the role of a Sponsor? To create the S.P.A.R.K. that ignites the career trajectory of another.