1. Why is a mentor so often identified as crucial in rising to leadership positions within an organization?
    Traditionally, it was believed that only through a mentor could a newcomer learn about the hiring and assignment practices that determined the career ladders to leadership. On the contrary--those practices can be discovered by anyone who knows what to look for in her organization.

  2. Am I alone in having difficulty finding a mentor? Why does it seem especially difficult for women?
    A number of factors influence the scarcity of mentors for women in organizations of all types. The most obvious is the tendency for mentors to choose protegees who look like themselves--and the disproportionate number of men in leadership means they will more likely mentor other men. Concerns about sexual harrassment may dissuade some men from mentoring women. Among potential women mentors, other factors --the desire to avoid the appearance of favoritism toward other women, the demands that come with being one of only a few women in senior positions--diminish the number of women mentors available. Research shows that fewer than 25% of professional women experience real mentoring in their careers.

  3. What do I do until I find a mentor?
    Recognize that in the your journey to leadership you may spend a good deal of time “between mentors.” The Womentor Guide teaches you a number of strategies to continue the journey on your own, the most of important of which is enabling you to identify the hiring and assignment practices of the organization you are in, identifying the organizational culture those create, and learning which employee attributes that culture rewards. This is information available to every member of an organization. We will help you identify if you are in a Club, a Fortress, a Baseball Team, or an Academy. Armed with that knowledge, you become your own womentor, able to navigate through the choices before you: develop the qualities valued in a particular culture, seek a culture that is more compatible to your leadership traits, or work to change the culture you are in.

  4. But isn't there a more basic obstacle to women attaining leadership in organizations? Aren't men more likely to possess qualities of leadership? Or at least be perceived as having more leadership potential?
    In a word, no. Study after study refutes such “common knowledge.” In the real world, in real organizations, there is no natural feminine or masculine edge in leadership. Successful leaders share equally those qualities so often assumed to belong to one gender or the other: women leaders take risks and have high expectations, men show concern for their employees and provide a trusted role model. We teach a woman to pay attention not to gender, but to organizational culture.