To Get Ahead, Help Develop Others’ Careers

October 3, 2012

Women in business have long acknowledged that to advance in their careers they need to focus on developing themselves by learning new skills, attaining new knowledge, and seeking out challenging new experiences. But did you know developing others could also positively impact your career?

According to a recent study led by Catalyst, “High potentials who were developing a protégé had $25,075 greater compensation growth from 2008 to 2010.” The study also demonstrated that developing others is a significant predictor of career advancement.

How is it possible that developing others could positively impact your compensation and career advancement? “It may be that developing other talent creates more visibility and a following within the organization for the high-potentials who are doing the developing, which leads to greater reward and recognition for the extra effort.”

The Catalyst research study, High Potentials in the Pipeline: Leaders Pay it Forward, also uncovered some surprising results that serve to bust the “Queen Bee” syndrome that women tend not to help other women when it comes to career advancement. The study found that not only are high potential women developing others, compared to their male counterparts, the women were actually more likely to be developing women.

“This report dispels the misconception that women’s career advancement lags behind men’s because they don’t pay it forward to other women. It shows that women are in fact actively helping each other succeed,” said Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO of Catalyst. “The notion that women executives are Queen Bees who are unwilling to support other women needs to be put to rest.”

The study uncovered additional interesting information when it comes to “paying it forward” and developing others:

  • If you’ve had development help, you’re more likely to develop others: 59% of employees who received developmental support were, in turn, developing others.
  • Sponsorship counts when it comes to paying it forward: 66% of high potentials who were sponsored (had someone with power and influence open doors of opportunity and advocate to help them obtain projects and assignments that enhance their visibility and position) were developing others.
  • People in higher-level positions more likely to develop others: 64% of high potentials at the senior executive/CEO level were developing others compared to only 30% of high potentials at the individual contributor level.

When it comes to developing others, the study found “women do pay it forward and to a greater extent than men”:

  • Women develop others more than men: 65% of women who had been developed were developing others, compared to 56% of men.
  • Women develop other women more often: 73% of women who were developing others were developing female talent as compared to only 30% of men who were developing female talent.
  • Long work hours don’t stop women: 76% of high potential women working more than 60 hours a week were developing others as compared to only 57% of men working those hours.

Bottom Line: Paying it forward by developing others can actually have a pay off in your own career with greater advancement opportunities and higher compensation. So ladies, use your knowledge, career experiences, and understanding of your company and industry to develop others, especially other women. Not only will it help your company build a strong talent pipeline, your investment in helping others will also help your own career, “because paying it forward pays back.”

To get started paying it back as a mentor, click here for a free mentoring guide (then scroll to the bottom of the page and next to the Wing to Wing: A Mentoring Guide, click on the 5.6mb PDF to download the free document).

~ Lisa Quast

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Photo credit: Microsoft Free Clip Art

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