Sound decision-making, knowing how to manage people, taking charge, and inspiring others to achieve goals are a few of the qualities. But helping others develop their full potential is also an integral part of successful leadership. According to a new Catalyst report, it pays off not only for emerging talent but for those who invest time in cultivating them. And more women than men, it turns out, are helping others move up the ladder.
High-potential talent who were themselves mentored, coached, or sponsored to advance in their careers are more likely to “pay it forward” by developing the next generation of leaders, according to Leaders Pay It Forward, the latest report in Catalyst’s series that examines the career advancement of high- potentials throughout the world.
And, paying it forward pays back: It benefits not only protégés but leads to career advancement and compensation growth for those providing the assistance— $25,075 in additional compensation between 2008 and 2010, according to the report.
Why? 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. Women, the report finds, are even more likely than men to develop other talent.
Sixty-five percent of women who received career development support are now developing new talent, compared to 56 percent of men, and 73 percent of the women developing new talent are developing women, compared to only 30 percent of men. This finding helps bust the oft-cited “Queen Bee” myth that women are reluctant to provide career support to other women and may even actively undermine each other.
“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.”
Overall, the report finds that high-potentials who are paying it forward today recognize that others once took a risk on them and gave them their chance—and now it’s their turn.
Are you putting the Law of Reciprocity to work for you?
Reciprocation flows from Divine Law that can neither be ignored or put aside. Perhaps, the most important of these laws is the 'law of love.' Put simply, "Love is Law, Law is Love. God is Love, Love is God." This amounts to the same thing as "the gift of giving" without the "hope of reward or pay," or serving others. This 'law of love' is identified in many different ways--for example, in Wayne Baker's bestseller, "Achieving Success Through Social Capital" (Jossey-Bass), this law of love in the workplace is described as the "law of reciprocity."
The law of reciprocity is not what can best be described as "transactional reciprocity." Baker says that, "Many people conceive of their business dealings as spot market exchanges--value given for value received, period. Nothing more, nothing less. This tit-for-tat mode of operation can produce success, but it doesn't invoke the power of reciprocity and so fails to yield extraordinary success."
Baker explains, "The lesson is that we cannot pursue the power of reciprocity. When we try to invoke reciprocity directly, we lose sight of the reason for it: helping others. Paradoxically, it is in helping others without expecting reciprocity in return that we invoke the power of reciprocity. The path to reciprocity is indirect: reciprocity ensues from the social capital built by making contributions to others.
The deliberate pursuit of reciprocity fails, just like the pursuit of happiness. Acts of contribution, big and small, build your fund of social capital, creating a vast network of reciprocity. And so those who help you may not be those you help. The help you receive may come from distant corners of your network."
Rule for Reciprocation:
"One of the most potent of the weapons of influence around us is the rule for reciprocation. The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us."
Robert B. Cialdini, author of "The Psychology of Persuasion" (William Morrow, 1993)
For more self-coaching tips, read and take action on this guidebook for career women: