Mentorship is one of the keys to success in business. It can open doors for women in the workplace and put more women on the path to leadership roles. Mentorship is important at every stage of a woman’s career, whether she’s just starting out or is a CEO. Some of the benefits of having a mentor include:
Access to mentors for women isn’t just good for women, it’s good for businesses overall. Mentorship is key to ensure a woman’s success in the workforce and access to leadership positions.
According to chronus.com, businesses that have greater gender diversity and more women on their board of directors are “15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”
Businesses need women to rise to top-tier leadership positions and literally can’t afford not to mentor women to get them there.
There is a common misconception that seeking out a mentor and “asking for help” can make a woman look weak in the workplace. But, the simple fact is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, according to an article in the LA Times, “women in C-suites were more likely than women in junior positions to have had a mentor at any stage in their careers.” Spending time with a mentor can actually boost a woman’s confidence and embolden her when it comes to things like asking for funding for a startup, asking a boss for a raise or increased responsibility, or fighting for a promotion.
Women shouldn’t underestimate the value in being a mentor. You might find you’re actually the one learning. If a woman has been in the business for some time, she can take a newer employee under her wing and mentor her on business and leadership, sharing her successes and failures to make the way ahead just a little bit easier for the next gal.
Not only is it important to a woman’s success in business to seek mentorship from seasoned and experienced mentors, she should also realize the value in receiving mentorship from women more junior than her. For women that have been in the industry for a long time, pairing up with a younger woman can bring a fresh perspective. Younger generations can open a more experienced woman to changes happening in the workplace and the possibilities of new technology, flexible work schedules, and remote work.
Finding a female mentor is critical to a woman’s success. While female mentors should not be replaced entirely by male mentors in a woman’s professional development, male mentorship can be just as valuable. Men still occupy the majority of senior leadership and managerial positions so women shouldn’t be afraid to ask a male in a leadership position to mentor her. While another woman can relate in ways that men just can’t (i.e. more difficulty obtaining venture capital, workplace sexual harassment, less likely to get promoted than male peers…etc.), a male mentor still brings a lot of value to the table. Although a male mentor may not be able to relate in some of these departments, they can help you overcome some of the challenges associated with them by coaching you through professional and career situations from a leadership perspective. A well-connected mentor, whether male or female, can be your advocate for bigger opportunities if they are a leader in your field or organization.
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