From entry level to CEO, business professionals benefit from relationships that provide support and act as sounding boards for decisions. Research on mentoring consistently demonstrates that protégés (also called mentees)and  their mentors not only have higher salaries and climb the ladder faster, they end up more satisfied overall with their careers. Those involved in mentoring are more productive and effective in their jobs and develop others as managers. Understanding this, many organizations have created formal mentoring programs as part of their leadership development and/or HR strategies.

One of the most important findings from 30 years of academic literature is that informal mentoring relationships are more effective than formal ones. In addition, studies show that if you proactively create a wider, deeper network of mentors each of the benefits – quicker promotions, greater productivity and satisfaction – can be even greater.

This recorded presentation discusses four steps that business professionals can apply in order to use informal mentoring for professional development:

  • Reflect: Who has taken an active interest and action to advance your career? Think broadly, in and outside the workplace. List those people and group them according to where you interact.
  • Assess: Map your developmental network to uncover patterns. Assess based on size, diversity, relationship density (who knows who), strength,  and support types. 
  • Learn: Determine your goals and create your ideal developmental network map. Take an entrepreneurial approach to relationships and your own development. 
  • Teach: Educate your workforce to apply a developmental network approach to their careers. Foster a developmental culture that encourages relational learning and rewards developing others.

About the Presenter

Wendy Marcinkus Murphy is an Associate Professor of Management with teaching responsibilities in organizational behavior for both undergraduates and graduate programs.  She also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Mentoring Programs through the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL).  Prior to joining the faculty at Babson College, she taught at Boston College and Northern Illinois University.  She earned her A.B., M.S., and Ph.D. from Boston College.

Professor Murphy’s research interests are in the area of careers.  Her work focuses on mentoring and developmental networks, identity, and the work-life interface.  Specifically, she explores the mutual learning that occurs through nontraditional developmental relationships for the benefit of individuals and organizations.  In addition, she is interested in how positive relationships across the work-life interface facilitate career success.  

Murphy has published her research in several academic journals.  Her forthcoming book with Kathy Kram, Strategic Relationships at Work: Creating your circle of mentors, sponsors, and peers for success in business and life, applies the scholarship of mentoring to a help everyone become an entrepreneurial protégé.