Kathy Kram’s Mentoring Research Featured in Forbes

in Career Related, Faculty, News, Organizational Behavior
February 6th, 2013

On January 29, Forbes.com featured the research of Boston University’s Kathy Kram, in the article “3 Ways to Develop Your People Without Overwhelming Yourself.” Kram is the Richard C. Shipley Professor in Management and an expert in the field of mentoring.

The article, by Michael Campbell of the Center for Creative Leadership, explores a different approach senior leaders lacking adequate time can take to mentoring and developing others. John Ryan, president of the Center for Creative Leadership, is speaking at the School on February 28.

3 Ways to Develop Your People Without Overwhelming Yourself

Senior leaders consistently report that they don’t have enough time for mentoring and developing others.

Up-and-coming leaders consistently report wanting more guidance, mentoring and face time to learn from senior leaders.

One way to address this dilemma? Developmental networks.

Instead of taking on the formal role of sole coach or mentor to those you are responsible for developing (or to meet that performance metric of “develops others”), you can help your talent build a network of relationships that will – as a whole – provide the support they need for the next role or level.

Research conducted by Kathy Kram (Boston University) and Monica Higgins (Harvard University) indicates that people who develop faster have a strong network of developmental relationships. This parallels findings from Rob Cross of the University of Virginia that shows a clear correlation between high performance and robust networks.

As someone responsible for developing others, you can help your talent learn and grow in a more strategic way. Here’s how it works.

Start by looking at current developmental relationships. Help your direct report or mentee assess what their developmental network looks like today. Explain that a developmental network is made up of individuals who have a genuine interest in your development and who are qualified to assist you in your learning. Keep in mind, developmental relationships are deliberately and clearly about learning and growth.

You can quickly get a picture of the network by asking, during the past 12 months who are the people who have taken an interest and concerted action to help you advance your career? See if they can list 5-10 and then note the type of relationship (boss, peer, direct report, family, etc.)

See the full article and additional tips on Forbes.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends interested in the topic are invited to attend a Dean’s Speaker Series event with John Ryan, president of the Center for Creative Leadership, at the School on February 28.