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Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women Hardcover – March 19, 2018
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
Authors Brad Johnson and David Smith, both professors at the U.S. Naval Academy, hit a home run with this no-nonsense, timely guide that will benefit any man who wants to more effectively mentor or manage women in the workforce. Boldly stating that "traditionally masculine 'command and control' structures of hierarchical management are yesterday's news," and starting with a tutorial on self-awareness, the authors help the reader understand factors that harm women's careers and interfere with productive mentoring or management relationships. Seeking to illustrate "pervasive and pernicious attitudes" in the workplace, they tackle the stereotypes of women being too nice or not assertive enough, the "double jeopardy" of racial and gender bias, and the role of maternity. Then, drawing on academic research as well as real-life stories from senior-level women in organizations such as Coca-Cola, Sodexo, KPMG, NASA, and various branches of the military, the authors offer practical ways for mentors to lead, interact with, and champion women so they can succeed. Filled with useful advice and backed up by academic research, this handbook should be on every male business leader's reading list. (Publisher's Weekly, Sept. 2016)
Athena Rising reminds us that when men lean in for equality, we all benefit. Brad Johnson and David Smith have written a powerful and practical guide for men on the steps that will make a big difference for organizations and for women.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Founder of LeanIn.Org
David Smith and Brad Johnson's book captures precisely what Catalyst research has revealed for years: It's a win-win solution when men take intentional action to serve as mentors and sponsors, helping to accelerate progress for women in the workplace. Leaders can no longer focus only on those who look like them; mentoring and developing all talent must become a core part of any organization's leadership style. Through engaging insights from global leaders and practical tips for men, Smith and Johnson echo Catalyst's long-standing point that when men are part of the solution--recognizing privilege and proactively championing gender equality within their organizations--that's when real change can occur.
Deborah Gillis, President & Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst
Brad Johnson and David Smith have served up an exceptional treatise and handbook for male executives to learn howto become mentors to rising women of promise in all our organizations. Athena Rising is written in a captivating style while providing a practical, step by step mentoring implementation plan to advance female stars in the workplace. It should be a must read for male executive training.
Louie Freeh, Former Director, FBI
A definitive, practical guide for every man who wants to work more effectively with women. This is a book guys didn't know we were waiting for, and it's finally here!
Chuck Shelton, Chief Executive Officer, Greatheart Consulting
Finally someone has tackled the central issue to women's advancement at work: why don't men champion female talent like they do for other men? 'Athena Rising' answers that question and -- through story-telling and research -- inspires men to rethink reluctance and mentor for the good of heir female colleagues, their companies, and, ultimately, themselves.
Kat Gordon Founder, The 3% Movement
About the Author
David Smith, PhD is an active duty U.S. Navy Captain and permanent military professor in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law at the United States Naval Academy having served four years as the chair. A former Navy Pilot, Dr. Smith led diverse organizations of women and men culminating in command of a squadron in combat and flew more than 3,000 hours over 19 years including combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a sociologist trained in military sociology and social psychology, he focuses his research in gender, work, and family issues including dual career families, military families, women in the military, and retention of women. Dr. Smith is the author of numerous journal articles and book chaptersmany on the topic of gender and the workplace. His most recent publications include: On the Fast Track: Dual Military Couples Navigating Institutional Structures” in Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research (2013), Dual Military Families: Confronting a Stubborn Military Institution” in Military Families and War in the 21st Century, Comparative Perspectives (2015), Leadership and Peer Behaviors: Women in Combat” in Military Medicine (2016) and Gender and the Military Profession: Early Career Influences, Attitudes and Intentions.” in Armed Forces & Society.
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Ritch K. Eich, Ph.D (Michigan)
Captain, USNR (ret)
Retired Healthcare Executive
Author of three leadership books:
Real Leaders Don't Boss;
Leadership Requires Extra Innings;
TRUTH, TRUST + TENACITY;
There are dozens of books on mentoring, and many different mentoring styles. What sets this book apart, though, is the way Johnson and Smith confront some of the underlying biases, stereotypes, gender roles and societal “norms” that make male-female mentorships so important – and so challenging. Drawing on existing research literature, coupled with their own research – including dozens of interviews with successful women in both industry and the military - the two tackle the problem in a systematic approach. First, they explain the “why”: Why is it important that men mentor women? Perhaps more importantly, they carefully catalog and explain the barriers to effective male/female mentorship – and they do it in a “no holds barred” fashion that just tells it like it is. They tackle some uncomfortable topics (at least, for most men) but in a way that compels the reader to keep going. Whether you think of yourself as “enlightened” or one step removed from a Neanderthal when it comes to your views on women in the workplace, Johnson and Smith provide insights and commentary that will give you pause to think. They clearly and cogently address the most pressing challenges when it comes to men establishing effective mentorships with women, and they lay out a very effective argument explaining why overcoming those challenges is so important.
An average book might stop there, having convinced men that they need to be more proactive about mentoring those “rising Athenas” within their organization. That’s what makes this a great book: not only do Smith and Johnson tell you why you should mentor women, they lay out a number of strategies for achieving effective mentorships. They cover the gamut, from establishing a good mentoring relationship, to your mentee’s professional growth, to her personal growth. Along the way, they dispense some blunt prescriptions to help men overcome the barriers, whether they are rooted in personal bias, workplace culture, societal expectations or just a general uncertainty about how to be an effective mentor to women.
Some might view Athena Rising as a book by men and for men – but I think it is much more than that. It can be equally as powerful for women to help them identify and understand some of the challenges that they might feel instinctively but had difficulty articulating. Johnson and Smith do an exceptional job of putting words to many of those “feelings” that both men and women have when it comes to interactions in the workplace. As effective as the authors are at helping men recognize and understand some of their gender roles and perceptions, their message can be equally useful to women to understand the professional landscape they are trying to navigate successfully. No one should peg this as a “guy book” – it is a powerful tool for men and women alike.
I would encourage anyone who is in a position to mentor or be mentored to read Athena Rising. There’s something in it for everyone, from the newest entrant into the business world to the most seasoned CEO. The book offers some vital perspectives on the hurdles to effective mentoring of women, and it provides very useful strategies to overcoming those challenges and unlocking the full potential of some of our top talent. Buy it today!
The book is separated into two main parts. These parts are then subdivided into 46 distinct principles. Part one provides a psychological assessment of men and women in the workplace. Part two focuses on how men can specifically help female mentees. The authors frequently reinforce these principles with comments from high ranking & successful women.
Some of the principles are universal, such as listening to your mentee instead of jumping in and trying to solve her problem. Other topics include being her friend, praising her in public, and introducing her to your circle of contacts. The last point enables her to grow her own professional network.
Bottom line: This is an outstanding book on mentoring, regardless of the mentee’s gender. The principles are clearly defined and easily understood. Although some principles are obvious, every reader will definitely come away with improved mentoring skills.
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