Increasingly, new employees and junior members of any profession are encouraged - sometimes stridently - to "find a mentor!" Four decades of research reveals that the effects of mentorship can be profound and enduring; strong mentoring relationships have the capacity to transform individuals and entire organizations. Organizations that retain and promote top talent - both female and male - are more likely to thrive.
But the mentoring landscape is unequal. Evidence consistently shows that women face more barriers in securing mentorships than men, and when they do find a mentor, they may reap a narrower range of both career and psychological benefits. Athena Rising is a book for men about how to mentor women deliberately and effectively. It is a straightforward, no-nonsense manual for helping men of all institutions, organizations, and businesses to become excellent mentors to women.
Co-authors W. Brad Johnson PhD and David Smith PhD draw from extensive research and years of experience as experts in mentoring relationships and gender workplace issues. When a man mentors a woman, they explain, the relationship is often complicated by conventional gender roles and at times hostile external perceptions. Traditional notions of mentoring are often modeled on male-to-male relationships - the sort that begin on the golf course, involve a nearly exclusive focus on career achievement, and include more than a few slaps on the back over drinks after work. But women often report a desire for mentoring that integrates career and family aspects of life. Women want a mentor who not only "gets" this, but truly honors it.
Men need to fully appreciate just how crucial their support of promising junior women can be in helping them to persist, promote, and thrive in their vocations and organizations. As women succeed, lean in, and assume leading roles in any organization or work context, that culture will become more egalitarian, effective, and prone to retaining top talent.
©2016 W. Brad Johnson and David Smith (P)2016 Gildan Media, LLC
Though directed to men predominantly, Athena Rising is a book for professional women as well. It tackles the myths and misconceptions surrounding the topic with a well-balanced mixture of advice, research, and copious examples from the military, government agencies and top corporations.
In particular, Johnson and Smith use no holds barred language that speaks directly to any man who is reluctant to work effectively with and see women succeed. They host the conversation about sexism, chivalry, stereotypes, and any temptations toward sexual attraction, but most importantly how mentoring women actually benefits a man's career. The authors make the topic a win-win scenario, and the lessons for women are equally pertinent with reminders to speak up, assert oneself, never become comfortable with second best nor shy away from a true challenge.
By the end of this book, readers will adopt Johnson's and Smith's mindset as they reframe any second thoughts about mentoring a woman in their organization. Listening to Athena Rising on Audible was pleasant and a good way to pass time during the morning or evening commute.
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