Sponsorship as a Superpower
I’ve been blessed to have several mentors throughout my life. Both men and women have provided me with sage counsel, words of wisdom, and questions to ponder as I advanced in my career and leadership practice. I’ve also dedicated tremendous amounts of time to mentoring others. I don’t wish to diminish the utmost importance of mentorship, but I do want to stress that sponsorship can likely have a much greater impact on someone’s success.
Sponsorship is proactively providing opportunities for people that they could not access on their own.
It’s bringing them with you and creating seats at the table — wherever that table may be.
Use your sponsorship superpower to promote others to success:
In a senior leadership team meeting, cite to the relevant work of an up-and-coming employee who you deem ready and worthy of additional attention. Suggest that the individual attend an upcoming meeting and share the work with leadership.
Whenever a colleague, client, or customer gushes about a particular idea that was handled superbly by a rising star, tell them who executed it and offer to have the star work on the next project.
A company-wide task force is being organized to tackle a strategic issue, and you have the ability to provide recommendations to staff it. Consider who could benefit from a high-profile role with access to leaders — someone who may not be top of mind for the majority of decision makers.
Your opinion is sought for a vendor. Champion those external to your organization who could do an excellent job but wouldn’t otherwise get noticed.
Be proactive in making key introductions to advance others’ expertise or businesses.
Connecting people to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have can help launch their success and cement your own — a worthy superpower indeed.