The Sponsor Effect: How to Be a Better Leader by Investing in Others

The Sponsor Effect: How to Be a Better Leader by Investing in Others

by Sylvia Ann Hewlett


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Are you investing in the right people?

Many people know the benefit of finding a sponsor--someone who goes beyond traditional mentorship to partner with a junior-level employee to help build their skills, advocate for them when opportunities arise, and open doors. But few realize that being a sponsor is just as important to career growth as finding one.

According to new research from economist and thought leader Sylvia Ann Hewlett, senior executives who sponsor rising talent are 53 percent more likely to be promoted than those who don't. Similarly, middle-level managers who have proteges are 167 percent more likely to be given stretch assignments. Well-chosen proteges contribute stellar performance, steadfast loyalty, and capabilities that you, the sponsor, may lack, thus increasing how fast and how far you can go.

But how do you find standout proteges, let alone develop them so that they're able to come through for you and your organization?

This book has the answers you need. Combining powerful new data and rich examples drawn from in-depth interviews with leaders from companies such as Unilever, Aetna, Blizzard Entertainment, and EY, The Sponsor Effect provides a seven-step playbook for how you can become a successful sponsor. You'll learn to:

  • Identify the right mix of proteges
  • Include those with differing perspectives
  • Inspire your proteges and ignite their ambition
  • Instruct them to develop key skill sets
  • Inspect your picks for performance and loyalty
  • Instigate a deal, detailing the terms of a relationship
  • Invest three ways and reap the rewards

Along the way, you'll discover the enormous benefits of investing in these valuable relationships.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633695658
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 06/18/2019
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 1,251,655
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist and the CEO of Hewlett Consulting Partners. She is also the founder and Chair Emeritus of the Center for Talent Innovation. She is the author of fourteen critically acclaimed books, including Off-Ramps and On-Ramps; Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor; and Executive Presence.

Author social media/website info:,,,

Table of Contents

Part 1 What Every Leader Needs to Know

1 Sponsorship and the Power of Protégés 3

2 Presenting the Research-and Common Mistakes 15

3 Payoffs for Sponsors 27

Part 2 The Playbook for Success

4 Identify Potential Protégés 45

5 Include Diverse Perspectives 57

6 Inspire for Performance and Loyalty 69

7 Instruct to Fill the Gaps 79

8 Inspect Your Prospects 93

9 Instigate a Deal 109

10 Invest Three Ways 119

11 Integrate and Bring It All Together 133

Part 3 Dangers and Legacies

12 #MeToo and the Third Rail 147

13 Legacy 157

Notes 173

Index 179

Acknowledgments 189

About the Author 191

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