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Why Men Should Mentor Women Today

gender bias info graphic

Look at you…you’re smart, well liked, and really good at what you do. So why are you not at the top of the corporate ladder by now? And, if you are at the top, why aren’t you earning as much as a male counterpart?

Well, in business the old saying that “It’s not what you know as much as, who you know, is still valid in today’s fast paced business world….perhaps even more so.

So, the next question is who do you need to know, and where do you find them so you can be more successful in your career or your business?

Who is that person who will advance your career, give you wise advice, hold you accountable and always help you succeed? …It’s a mentor! What is a mentor? A mentor is someone who is older, and already traversed successfully the same path you’re now just taking. He or she is experienced, successful and willing to provide advice and guidance.A Mentor is someone who has the desire to give back for the success they have achieved in their life. Or help you overcome the hard lessons in business they had to experience to grow to success.

When you want accelerated results, you want to be coached by a mentor – someone who’s been there and done that. Someone who has achieved and surpassed what you seek to achieve or accomplish. Someone you can learn from and someone who has high values, morals and who walks the talk in all aspects of his/her life.

I believe strongly in mentorship and mentor both mean and women.The numbers don’t lie: Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, but very few of them make it to the very top level in corporate America. Why? Because even in the 21st century there is still gender bias happening. But there is a solution to this bias. It involves men mentoring women.

For over a decade, mentorship of women by women has been seen as part of the solution, and workplaces from Goldman Sachs to the U.S. government has implemented programs to do just that. But what if the person best suited to mentor you is a man? Don’t let gender get in the way of a potentially critical professional relationship! There are plenty of men who haven’t let it stop them from fostering female proteges. In her new book Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg mentions a mentor of hers, Larry Summers. Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, the first American woman to fly in combat, has said that all of her mentors in the military were men. Ruth Bader Ginsberg got her first job thanks to an intervention by one of her male law school professors.

If you are a woman and your goal is to reach the top of the ladder in your organization then getting a mentor should be in your 5 most important strategies..As a business strategy a business savvy mentor can make all the difference in building your business. By tapping the expertise of someone who’s already jumped the hurdles, you can reach your goal quicker and with less cost in time, heartache, frustration and money.

So how can you identify a great male mentor ? Here are 5 suggestions.

1. Seek a good match . “Make sure your mentor’s social style and values match your own as much as possible,” says Sid Walker, a sales performance coach and author of Trust Your Gut. Like all partnerships, you need trust, chemistry and commitment.

2. Be casual and less formal in seeking a mentor. Few successful business men take well to a direct request for mentoring. It’s too much of an upfront commitment. “It is more appropriate to say, ‘Would you be willing to join me for lunch or breakfast? I need some advice and I would love an opportunity to pick your brain,'” suggests Barbara Danforth, who directs a mentoring program for businesswomen for the YWCA of Greater Cleveland. Alternatively, you can ask a mutual friend or associate to introduce you to a potential mentor.

3. Establish written goals and measurable expectations. Many protégés and mentors write down goals and expectations from the relationship. If that’s too formal for you, at least discuss, beforehand, exactly what you expect and want to achieve.

4. Consider your potential mentors current power. A well liked and admired high-profile mentor may be able to open doors. In selecting one, think about how he might help your career grow. “If your mentor can speak about you glowingly with colleagues in your industry, you gain credibility,” says Alissa Krinsky, who runs Media Success, a Chicago-based media training company.

5. Give back. Mentoring to succeed has to be valuable to be a real “win- win” for both parties. I mentor because I want to advance women in business. I do it because I feel the world will never reach its fullest potential until women and men are equally valued in society, business, government and even religion. So I do it for a bigger purpose than money. But, I still need to feel I am helping. I still like receiving  recognition from my mentee that what she is learning and growing. And honestly while I never seek it, it is nice once in awhile if they decide to support something I care for, such as my non-profit cause. Additionally the Mentor & the Mentee must work as a team. I have come to see that there are two types of people in life; Givers and Takers. I now mentor, socialize with and work only with people who are givers in life. I do not mentor people who think only of themselves; for they are only takers. Society cannot move forward without givers to renew, pay back and leave this life-giving more than they took. Women; young and old need more men mentor models to move higher faster and farther in growing their business or climbing the career ladder.

It is difficult for a man to reach the top, but even more difficult for a woman to do it in, lets face it, a male dominated corporate world. Women need men mentors who can give them access to demonstrate their talents and skills. Women need the same access to business success as men have. Women need men mentors who understand the need for women to achieve equality in rising the corporate ladder, or in starting a new businesses that will improve society.

After surviving a 3 year battle and overcoming a terminal illness I had a new outlook on life and business. For the first time in my career I realized the need for all of us to live life in balance, savor each day, and work together; not separately to help and encourage our fellow travelers to be successful in life and in business. After I survived I left the corporate world behind and started a non-profit organization. I found that most of the volunteers were women. I saw the strengths women bring to the table; such as compassion, an innate ability to work together for a common good and the ability to get things done quicker when everyone was focused on a solution and not playing politics.

And being involved in this inclusive management style women intuitively possess, it was apparent that women could not only perform equally with men, but their ability to include everyone in the process; not being autocratic as men, got better results for my organization and those we serve. It was then that I decided to mentor women.

I wish it weren’t so but the truth is that there is still a deep seeded gender bias that hangs heavy over our society, even in the 21st century. Our world and our economy has many critical challenges. Just bringing women’s salaries in line with men’s salaries for the same job will add billions to our economy and accelerate our stagnant growth. It is going to take empowered women working together with men as equals, not subordinates however to see that we move forward together to solve the social ills we find our great country in today.

gender bias info graphicv

Steve Monahan,

www.SteveMonahan.me – info@SteveMonahan.me

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