Mentoring leaders across race and gender lines: Insight from US Army officers


The importance of mentoring to career development is well recognized; yet practice does not always follow theory, often to the exclusion of minorities and women. Interviews with 13 US Army officers representing various backgrounds highlighted several inequities that have been reported in previous organizational research. The inquiry also emphasized the need for organizational leaders to create a common operating picture to improve the execution of their mentoring programs, ensure ongoing mentoring throughout staff members' careers, and identify and eliminate barriers to mentoring based on race or gender. Although such efforts may require a paradigm shift in organizational practices and culture, they are essential to ensuring equity in the workplace, robust leadership development, a high level of commitment and performance, and success at all levels.
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Mentoring leaders across race and gender lines: Insight from US Army ocers
Burl W. Randolph Jr., Kim Nisbett
Global Business and Organizational Excellence, April 2019, Wiley
DOI: 10.1002/joe.21931
In a global marketplace, diversity in
mentoring is a necessity
Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash
What is it about?
Race and Gender are relevant considerations in mentoring leaders. Minority and
female leaders voiced observing and experiencing dierences in how they were
mentored compared to White male and female peers. We illuminated the
dierences in mentoring, what was most important in these mentoring relationships,
and veried that some mentoring across race and gender lines is better than no
mentoring at all.
Why is it important?
It is important for leaders to appreciate that mentoring is a developmental
relationship, and that the relationship is what matters most. Identifying the
dierences in mentoring based on race and gender was not the purpose of the
study. The spontaneous statements on race and gender provided by participants
from dierent generations, leadership levels, professional specialities, and academic
backgrounds illuminated that a one-size-ts-all approach to mentoring is impossible.
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Dr. Burl W Randolph Jr (Author)
University of Phoenix
I hope this article provides a better understanding of mentoring, and how important
it is to have a mentor to help ascend the corporate ladder. Because we all enter the
workforce from dierent backgrounds, we should be treated as individuals with
diverse wants, needs, and desires versus what may be considered mainstream
thinking and aspirations. Mentoring provides individuals help in reaching their goals
in a safe, secure, non-retribution environment with constant positive reinforcement.
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