As a senior leader, you have been asked to be a sponsor for a high-potential employee your company is seeking to develop and retain as part of its diversity-and-inclusion efforts. You agree, because you believe retaining underrepresented talent is important. And you are always willing to help young talent succeed, anyway; it’s the fun part of your job. You probably already sponsor a few people, but being assigned someone to sponsor is different. You may know the employee’s reputation, but you don’t know anything regarding his or her real strengths and limitations or ambitions.
Let’s say the sponsored employee is two levels below you. She reports to one of your peers in another area of the business. At your first meeting, she’d asked about the company’s China strategy, which is your area of expertise, and then about how she should deal with a direct report who isn’t pulling his weight