From mentors to leaders: leader development outcomes for mentors

Mostafa Ayoobzadeh (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada) (John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Kathleen Boies (John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 15 July 2020

Issue publication date: 5 November 2020

1289

Abstract

Purpose

The present study examines leader development as one of the potential outcomes for mentors and investigates whether the provision of mentoring contributes to developing mentors' leader identity and leader self-efficacy.

Design/methodology/approach

Relying on a quasi-experimental design, data were collected at four points in time over eight months from a mentor (n = 46) and an equivalent nonmentor group (n = 25). Participants in the mentor group were volunteer mentors from a doctoral mentoring program that was implemented at a large Canadian university.

Findings

Participants in the mentor group experienced a more positive change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy, compared to the participants in the nonmentor group. Further analysis of the participants in the mentor group suggests that the extent to which mentors provide career and psychosocial support explains the growth rate in the development outcomes.

Practical implications

By documenting benefits of mentoring for mentors, program administrators may be able to recruit mentors who are more engaged in the process. In addition, they can encourage their members to volunteer as mentors to gain leader development outcomes.

Originality/value

This longitudinal study connects the areas of mentoring and leadership development. While the majority of mentoring studies focus exclusively on mentoring outcomes for protégés, the present study shows that mentoring can benefit mentors as well.

Keywords

Citation

Ayoobzadeh, M. and Boies, K. (2020), "From mentors to leaders: leader development outcomes for mentors", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 497-511. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-10-2019-0591

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited


Introduction

Every year, corporations all around the world spend billions of dollars on leadership development programs. Fortune 500 executives rank leadership development as one of their top three human capital priorities and one of their first concerns (Gurdjian et al., 2014). Despite this, many organizations are not entirely satisfied with the effectiveness of their leadership development programs. They call on scholars to investigate more novel methods to develop leadership skills such as experience-based leadership development (Volz-Peacock et al., 2016). Although many development practices such as training, coaching and action learning are used commonly to improve individuals' leadership skills (e.g. Baron, 2016; Miscenko et al., 2017), less is known about the impact of other challenging assignments on individuals' leadership development. Identifying these practices is both important and timely.

Potentially, several organizational practices help individuals to improve their leadership skills (Day, 2000). Organizations can nurture leaders not only through formal training but also through providing individuals with opportunities to challenge themselves and to self-reflect, as well as through action learning. Mentoring is one of the development practices that help individuals to understand themselves, their competencies and their identities (i.e. leader development) and to understand how to relate to others, establish commitments and extend social networks (i.e. leadership development; Day, 2000). Mentoring is a developmental relationship in which a more experienced person (i.e. mentor) provides a less experienced person (i.e. protégé) with career and psychological support (Kram, 1985). Career support improves protégés' career advancement and includes sponsorship, exposure and visibility, coaching, protection and giving challenging assignments. Psychosocial support helps protégés feel competent, confident and effective and includes role modeling, acceptance and confirmation, counseling and friendship.

While the majority of research has focused on leadership development outcomes of mentoring for protégés (e.g. Lester et al., 2011), mentoring can contribute to leadership development in mentors as well. Mentoring can influence mentors' leadership attitudes by providing them with an opportunity to practice, and reflect upon, their leadership skills outside of training programs. The present study examines leader development as one of the potential outcomes for mentors and investigates whether the provision of mentoring contributes to developing mentors' leader identity and leader self-efficacy.

This study makes a number of contributions to research and practice. First, it brings into focus the possibility of developing leaders through challenging assignments such as mentoring others. Second, rather than protégé outcomes, it focuses on outcomes for mentor, which are vastly overlooked in the mentoring literature (Eby, 2011; Janssen et al., 2014). Identifying further mentor outcomes provides practitioners with reasons to inspire their organizational members to join mentoring programs as mentors. Finally, it employs longitudinal modeling to examine leader development, a field that often lacks longitudinal investigations despite being inherently longitudinal (Miscenko et al., 2017). If engaging in mentoring indeed can be linked to leadership development benefits for mentors, this would help organizations that implement mentoring programs tremendously in recruiting mentors, an often difficult task.

Literature review and hypotheses

Mentoring and leader/leadership development in mentors

Many scholars posit that individuals can improve their leadership skills throughout their life span (e.g. Day, 2000). Leadership contains numerous skills such as influencing others and interpersonal skills, assessing needs and shortcomings, goal setting and planning. Practicing and developing many of these skills do not require individuals to attend formal training and can happen in daily interactions. Such leadership skills develop when individuals, through organizational interactions, learn about what information is needed for success and what processes lead to success (Day et al., 2009). Thus, research needs to investigate day-to-day learning opportunities and organizational practices – such as mentoring others – through which individuals improve their self-awareness and learn how to lead (Day et al., 2014).

Although the majority of mentoring scholars has focused exclusively on mentoring outcomes for protégés (Eby, 2011), some have also documented the outcomes for mentors. With a few exceptions, these investigations have focused on career- and job-related outcomes such as career success, job satisfaction and organizational commitment (e.g. Ghosh and Reio, 2013). Very few studies investigate specific aspects of leadership development outcomes for mentors (Chun et al., 2012). The relative disconnect between the leadership and the mentoring literatures is rather perplexing, given the parallels between them.

The parallels between mentoring and leader development in mentors can be illustrated through leadership and mentoring competency models. Many scholars have categorized leadership skills. Mumford et al.'s (2007) model of leadership competencies is one of the most comprehensive taxonomies. According to this model, leadership skills can be captured by four broad categories of skills: cognitive skills, interpersonal skills, business skills and strategic skills (see Mumford et al., 2007). These four categories contain several subcategories or specific leadership skills (e.g. listening, communication, problem-solving). Mentoring provides mentors with an opportunity to acquire and to practice many of these leadership skills and, consequently, could influence their development.

Just like leadership, mentoring is exhibited through specific behaviors and relies on multiple competencies. For instance, a mentor exercises understanding emotional reactions, interacting interpersonally, orienting one's protégé, planning, feedback giving and problem-solving (Kraiger et al., 2019). These behaviors are parallel to some of the subcategories under the interpersonal and strategic leadership skills of the Mumford et al.'s (2007) model. This overlap between leadership and mentoring behaviors and competencies suggests that, by practicing mentoring, mentors indeed rely on behaviors also associated with leadership. Thus, mentoring others may develop mentors' leadership skills or, at least, provide them with an opportunity to evaluate their leadership skills and effectiveness (or lack thereof). Further, the precursors of leadership development and the mentoring outcomes for mentors (i.e. leader identity and leader self-efficacy) are discussed.

Mentoring outcomes: leader identity and leader self-efficacy

This paper focuses on leader identity and leader self-efficacy as the leader development outcomes for mentors. Leader identity refers to whether and how an individual thinks of oneself as a leader (Day and Harrison, 2007). Leader self-efficacy refers to an individual's confidence in his or her ability to perform as a leader and to carry out the behaviors related to leadership. These two constructs are chosen as the outcome variables for two reasons. First, leader identity and leader self-efficacy are central and fundamental to leader development. These constructs have been referred to as the proximal outcomes of leader development, compared to distal outcomes such as leadership effectiveness (e.g. Day and Dragoni, 2015). Moreover, possessing leader identity and leader self-efficacy is necessary in order for individuals to develop leadership skills, to emerge as leaders and to behave like leaders (e.g. Day et al., 2009). Second, research shows that improving individuals' leader identity and leader self-efficacy increases their motivation to engage in leadership development opportunities and leadership experiences (Day et al., 2009; Miscenko et al., 2017).

The impact of mentoring on mentors' self-perception as leaders (i.e. leader identity and leader self-efficacy) can be explained by self-perception theory (Bem, 1972). This theory postulates that individuals develop attitudes and gain information about their attitudes through observing their behaviors and the circumstances under which these behaviors occur. For instance, in a longitudinal study, Crocetti and colleagues (2016) found that emerging adults' engagement in prosocial behaviors significantly influenced their views and beliefs about themselves. Therefore, we propose that mentors gain self-perceptions as leaders and confidence in their leadership after performing leadership-related tasks and behaviors in mentoring relationships. The reasons as to why mentoring may help mentors to develop their leader identity and leader self-efficacy are described further.

We expect mentoring to influence mentors' leader identity positively. In their leader identity–development spiral, Day and colleagues (Day et al., 2009) suggest that experience plays a key role in increasing individuals' leader identity. According to this model, being involved in a positive leadership experience increases an individual's leader identity. Mentoring others, for instance, enables mentors to experience some of the leadership competencies and allows them to compare themselves with (1) generic views of well-known and “good” leaders and (2) particular individuals with whom they work or interact such as one's immediate supervisor (Guillén et al., 2015). Changes in individuals' self-perceptions of leadership skills influence changes in their leader identity (Miscenko et al., 2017). In other words, when individuals perceive gaining leadership skills, their leader identity increases, and vice versa.

We expect mentoring to influence mentors' leader self-efficacy positively as well. According to social cognitive theory (SCT; Bandura, 1997), individuals learn and gain confidence through observation in social contexts. A pivotal concept in SCT is self-efficacy, which is an individual's belief in his or her capacity to perform a task successfully. Self-efficacy can be influenced by four sources: mastery experience (positive experiences that confirm one's capabilities), vicarious experience (observing others performing a task successfully), social persuasion (receiving constructive and self-assuring feedback) and physiological and affective states (strains undermine self-belief; Bandura, 1997).

Mentors can gain leader self-efficacy through three of the four sources of self-efficacy. First and foremost, mentors gain leader self-efficacy through experiencing leadership or mastery experiences. Experiencing leadership improves an individual's belief in his or her ability to lead (e.g. Quigley, 2013). Performing challenging tasks that include leadership activities such as mentoring increases individuals' leader self-efficacy (e.g. Seibert et al., 2017). Therefore, mentors are likely to evaluate their leadership competencies and gain leader self-efficacy through practicing leadership. Second, mentors might receive positive and constructive feedback from their protégés (social persuasion). Mentoring can turn into a social exchange relationship where the protégé “gives back” to his or her mentor through providing feedback, which enhances mentor performance (Ramaswami and Dreher, 2008). Finally, as a rewarding experience, mentoring others could improve mentors' psychosocial and emotional states. Positive mentoring relationships give mentors a sense of satisfaction and worthiness (e.g. Kram, 1985). Such improvements in mentors' lives are likely to enhance their self-evaluations of leadership. Thus, overall, mentoring others could improve mentors' leader self-efficacy.

H1.

Compared to nonmentors, mentors will experience greater positive change in their (a) leader identity and (b) leader self-efficacy.

The provision of mentoring and mentoring outcomes

A common approach in the mentoring literature is to look at the link between the extent to which mentoring functions are provided by a mentor (i.e. the provision of mentoring) or received by a protégé (i.e. the receipt of mentoring) and the development of mentoring outcomes (e.g. Eby et al., 2013). Using this approach, scholars operationalize mentoring as a construct that ranges on a continuum from low to high provision of mentoring functions, rather than as a binary construct referring to the presence versus absence of mentoring. Therefore, the development trajectories may differ among the individuals participating in mentoring based on the extent to which mentoring functions are provided in that relationship.

We expect that the more mentors provide career and psychosocial support, the more they gain leader identity and leader self-efficacy. High levels of mentoring provision characterize intense mentoring experiences with learning opportunities for mentors. Therefore, the more mentors provide mentoring functions, the more they experience leadership situations and practice their leadership skills and, consequently, the more they develop leader development outcomes. Furthermore, the provision of mentoring is associated with the frequency of interaction between mentor and protégé (e.g. Huang et al., 2016). Thus, the more mentors provide mentoring support, the more they are likely to interact with their protégés and to experience mentoring.

H2.

The extent to which mentors provide career and psychosocial support will be positively associated with their growth in (a) leader identity and (b) leader self-efficacy.

Method

Mentoring program design

To investigate the proposed hypotheses, we implemented an eight-month peer-mentoring program for PhD students in a large Canadian university. This program paired senior PhD students (mentors) with new PhD students (protégés) within their departments based on their areas of specialization and/or research. Mentors and protégés were required to meet face to face at least once a month.

Research design

Data were collected through questionnaires at four points in time. We measured the outcome variables at four points in time to analyze the trajectory of leader development among the participants of the mentor and nonmentor groups. Following previous research (e.g. Chun et al., 2012), we measured the provision of mentoring in the mentor group at Time 3, one time period before the last data collection.

Participants

The participants in the mentor group were mentors who enrolled in the peer-mentoring program described earlier and who agreed to participate in this research. Initially, PhD students across the university were approached, mainly through email from various sources (e.g. the Graduate Association newsletters, the Graduate Program Directors and word of mouth). In total, 108 PhD candidates registered as potential mentors, of whom 63 candidates could be paired with new students within their departments and areas of expertise. Ultimately, 46 mentors agreed to participate and remained in the study.

The participants in the nonmentor group were PhD candidates who were not participants in the mentoring program and did not provide mentoring throughout the study. These participants were PhD candidates who volunteered to mentor first-year PhD students, yet could not be assigned protégés (e.g. lack of new students in their departments). In total, 25 PhD candidates accepted to take part in the study and formed the nonmentor group.

Measures

Mentoring. Mentoring was operationalized using two methods: (1) participation in mentoring was a binary variable, whereby mentor = 1 and nonmentor = 0, and (2) the provision of mentoring was measured using the nine-item Mentoring Functions Questionnaire (MFQ; Castro and Scandura, 2004). A sample item is “My mentor takes a personal interest in my career.” The alpha coefficient of the scale was 0.92.

Leader identity. Hiller's (2005) four-item scale was used to measure leader identity. A sample item is “I prefer being seen by others as a leader.” On a seven-point scale, the participants rated the extent to which each item described their self-image (from 1 = not at all descriptive to 7 = extremely descriptive). The alpha coefficient of the scale was 0.85.

Leader self-efficacy. Quigley's (2013) five-item scale was used to measure leader self-efficacy. A sample item is “In a teamwork project, I have a high degree of confidence in my ability to get my team to develop viable strategies.” The participants rated each statement on a seven-point Likert scale, from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The alpha coefficient of the scale was 0.93.

Control variables. Potential confound demographic variables (e.g. Wanberg et al., 2006), including mentor gender, protégé gender, mentor age and protégé age were controlled. As previous mentoring experiences influence individuals' behaviors in future mentoring relationships (Allen et al., 2017), we controlled for mentors' previous experience as mentor or as protégé. We measured and controlled for social desirability using a ten-item scale (Vésteinsdóttir et al., 2017) to account for the potential impact of common source bias (Bernerth and Aguinis, 2016). The participants answered items such as “No matter who I am talking to, I am always a good listener” on a seven-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The alpha coefficient of this scale was 0.74.

We followed previous research recommendations to control for variables only if they confound the proposed relationships (Bernerth and Aguinis, 2016; Miscenko et al., 2017). As the results when including significant control variables versus excluding them remained very similar, we report the coefficients of the analyses with no control variables.

Statistical analysis

A robust method to evaluate leadership development is to measure outcome variables at multiple times and to use hierarchical linear modeling (HLM; Gentry and Martineau, 2010; Singer and Willett, 2003). Following Gentry and Martineau's (2010) guidelines, we used the HLM 8.0 software with full maximum likelihood estimation to analyze change over time in leader development outcomes and examine the predictors of change over time. Thus, measurements at multiple times (Level 1) were nested within individuals (Level 2).

We analyzed our data based on the argument that the quality and quantity of certain life experiences influence individuals' leader development (Day et al., 2014). Accordingly, in the present study, the participation in mentoring and the provision of mentoring are the independent variables and trajectories of change (i.e. slope) in leader development outcomes are the dependent variables.

Results

Table 1 shows the descriptive statistics and correlations between variables.

Before testing the hypotheses, using t-test analyses, we compared the mentor and nonmentor groups on control and outcome variables at Time 1, to examine if the two groups were similar at the onset. According to the results, the two groups were not significantly different on gender, age, previous mentoring experience, leader identity and leader self-efficacy [1].

Hypothesis 1 predicted that participation in mentoring would lead to improvement in leader identity and leader self-efficacy among mentors. To test this hypothesis, we used HLM and investigated whether participation in mentoring explains the slope of change in development outcomes. For each development variable, we entered the outcome as the dependent variable, Time as a Level 1 predictor variable and participation in mentoring (1 = mentors and 0 = nonmentors) as a Level 2 predictor variable. Notably, each of the measurement points in time is treated as a data point at Level 1. To create a month-based value for Time, we created a day-based Time value from 0 (the first day of the program) to 240 (the last day of the program). Then, we divided this value by 30 (see Singer and Willett, 2003).

In our HLM analysis, we started with a null model, which included the intercept as the only predictor. In Model 1, the unconditional growth model, we introduced Time as a Level 1 predictor. Finally, in Model 2, the conditional growth model, we introduced Time as a Level 1 predictor as well as participation in mentoring, a dichotomous variable, as a Level 2 predictor. Table 2 displays the HLM results for Hypothesis 1. Null model results show that 16% of the variance in leader identity and 23% of the variance in leader self-efficacy reside at the within-individual level. As shown in previous research (e.g. Mathieu et al., 2012), the Level 1 variance is often between 10 and 30%. Thus, these variances are aligned with the findings in previous research. Moreover, these numbers suggest that HLM is an appropriate statistical analysis to use (Aguinis et al., 2013).

We predicted that change trajectories in leader identity (Hypothesis 1a) and leader self-efficacy (Hypothesis 1b) for mentors would be significantly higher than those of nonmentors. As shown in Table 2, participation in mentoring is related to growth rate in leader identity (Coefficient = 0.07, t = 2.80, p < 0.01) and leader self-efficacy (Coefficient = 0.07, t = 2.91, p < 0.01). Thus, Hypothesis 1 is supported. Figure 1 demonstrates the trajectories of change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy in participants who did and did not participate in the mentoring program as mentors. Originally, we expected the leader development outcomes to improve in the mentor group and to remain unchanged in the nonmentor group. However, the outcomes remained unchanged on average in the mentor group and declined in the nonmentor group. We discuss the potential reason for this observation in the discussion section. The simple slope test (Preacher et al., 2006) showed that although mentors experienced modest positive change in leader identity (β = 0.03, ns) and leader self-efficacy (β = 0.02, ns), nonmentors experienced negative change in leader identity (β = −0.06, ns) and leader self-efficacy (β = −0.05, ns).

Hypothesis 2 predicted that, within the mentor group, the provision of mentoring would be positively associated with within-person change in leader development outcomes for mentors. To test this hypothesis, we used HLM and examined whether mentors' perception of mentoring provision explains the slope of change in development outcomes. In two separate analyses, we entered each outcome variable as the dependent variable, Time as a Level 1 predictor variable, and the provision of mentoring as a Level 2 predictor variable. We started with a null model, which included the intercept as the only predictor. In Model 1, we entered Time as the Level 1 predictor variable. In Model 2, we introduced the provision of mentoring as the predictor variable to test Hypothesis 2. Table 3 displays the HLM results. The null model results show that 18% of variance in leader identity and 26% of variance in leader self-efficacy reside at the within-individual level.

We predicted that the provision of mentoring would be associated with change in leader identity (Hypothesis 2a) and leader self-efficacy (Hypothesis 2b) for mentors. As shown in Table 3, the provision of mentoring is related to growth rate in leader identity (Coefficient = 0.05, t = 3.13, p < 0.01) and leader self-efficacy (Coefficient = 0.06, t = 4.38, p < 0.01). Thus, Hypothesis 2 is also supported. Figure 2 demonstrates the trajectories of change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy in mentors with low (−1 SD), average (SD = 0) and high (+1 SD) level of mentoring provision. The simple slope test showed that although high provision of mentoring led to modest positive change in leader identity (β = 0.06, ns) and leader self-efficacy (β = 0.09, p < 0.02), low provision of mentoring was associated with nonsignificant negative change in leader identity (β = −0.04, ns) and leader self-efficacy (β = −0.05, ns).

As shown, the participants who provided high level of mentoring (career and psychosocial support) experienced an improvement in leader identity and leader self-efficacy. On the other hand, the participants who provided low levels of mentoring experienced a decline in leader identity and leader self-efficacy. Such a decline pattern is very similar to what we observed in the nonmentor group. Therefore, the mentor group includes a combination of participants who experienced positive and negative changes in leader development outcomes, depending on the extent to which they provided mentoring. Consequently, the average trajectory of change in the mentor group was close to zero (i.e. no significant overall change).

Discussion

In the present study, we investigated the leader development outcomes of mentoring for mentors. We hypothesized that mentoring others would improve mentors' leader identity and leader self-efficacy. According to our findings, as a whole, individuals who participated in the mentoring program as mentors did not experience negative trajectories of change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy, but the participants in the nonmentor group did. In addition, the provision of mentoring by mentors was associated with their change trajectories in leader identity and leader self-efficacy. This means that the amount of mentoring provided by mentors is associated with improvement in their leader identity and leader self-efficacy.

The trajectories of change in the mentor and nonmentor groups are different from what we expected. Originally, we expected to observe positive change in leader development outcomes for mentors and no change for nonmentors. However, our findings showed that the outcome variables declined in nonmentors and increased only slightly in mentors. In other words, it appears that mentoring prevented leader identity and leader self-efficacy from declining in mentors. Such results are not uncommon in research. As previous research shows (e.g. Dvir et al., 2002), interventions do not necessarily cause improvements in the mentor group. In cases where the mentor group remains unchanged and the nonmentor group experiences decline, the intervention might have prevented negative conditions from influencing the mentor group. For this reason, scholars suggest theory development to include prevention of developmental regression as an intervention outcome (e.g., Dvir et al., 2002).

We have a possible explanation for such observation. As our data collection stretched from September to April, it is possible that PhD candidates suffer from exhaustion toward the end of winter semester and evaluate themselves lower on leadership characteristics. Busy schedules, heavy workload and stress could influence how PhD candidates evaluate themselves. This proposition is aligned with previous research, which found that teachers who experience classroom stress had lower evaluation of their self-efficacy (Klassen and Chiu, 2010). Those PhD candidates who engage in such prosocial behaviors as mentoring others might gain some of their lost self-efficacy through feeling helpful and useful in mentoring.

Although, on average, the leader development outcomes remained unchanged in the mentor group, our further analysis exhibited variance in change trajectories within this group. As shown (see Table 3 and Figure 2), the provision of mentoring is associated with leader development in mentors. Mentors who provided high levels of mentoring experienced improvement in leader identity and leader self-efficacy and mentors who provided low levels of mentoring experienced decline in these variables, similar to the nonmentor group participants. Thus, on average, change trajectories for mentors with high and low provision of mentoring cancelled out each other, resulting in nonsignificant overall changes in the mentor group.

This study contributes to the literatures on mentoring and leadership development. First, it suggests that not only is receiving mentoring a leadership development tool (e.g., Lester et al., 2011), but also providing mentoring is a leadership development opportunity for mentors. As previous research suggests, beyond training programs in classroom settings, providing individuals with challenging opportunities can contribute to their leadership development (Day, 2000; Day et al., 2014). This finding highlights an overlooked avenue for research: individuals could be given numerous opportunities to enhance their leadership development. Second, it focuses on mentoring outcomes for mentors, who are understudied compared to protégés (Ghosh and Reio, 2013). While early mentoring research was dedicated exclusively to protégés, recent research continues to investigate mentoring through mentors' perspective (Allen et al., 2017). In addition, the majority of studies on mentor outcomes have focused on mentors' career development (e.g. Ghosh and Reio, 2013). Our study, however, proposed a wider range of benefits for mentors.

Practical implications

The current study has practical implications. First, it examines whether mentoring can be used to develop leaders. Providing individuals with an opportunity to mentor others may be a complementary leader development method, alongside other developmental practices. To develop leadership capabilities in their members, organizations can provide them with a combination of challenging assignments (e.g. mentoring others) and training programs. Providing organizational members with such development opportunities not only improves their leadership capabilities, but also increases their organizational commitment (Khoreva, 2016).

Second, it provides mentoring program administrators with reasons to encourage their organizational members to join mentoring programs as mentors. Often, it is easier to list mentoring benefits for protégés than for mentors. However, mentoring can be promoted as an organizational practice that is useful for more experienced members who want to develop certain skills.

Finally, our results show that when mentors provide high levels of career and psychosocial support, they experience greater positive change in leader identity and self-efficacy. Low provision of mentoring could be the result of many factors that are out of mentors' control, such as mismatch between mentor and protégé and protégés' lack of commitment. Therefore, program administrators can employ various techniques to engage mentors and protégés further in mentoring relationships. For instance, administrators can use evidence-based matching methods and recruit protégés who are open to receiving mentoring support.

Strengths and limitations

An important strength of the present study is collecting data longitudinally in a semicontrolled environment from mentor and nonmentor groups. This design improves the robustness of our results. This study has potential limitations as well. One might question why we used the provision of mentoring (rated by mentors) rather than the receipt of mentoring (rated by protégés). Research has shown that mentors' and protégés' perceptions of the same construct are not highly correlated (Eby et al., 2013). It means that individuals might have dissimilar perceptions and opinions of a same construct, even in close relationships. We hypothesized that mentors' evaluation of their mentoring relationships would influence their self-perceptions. Thus, it was more logical to measure mentoring through mentors, rather than protégés. Moreover, we controlled for participants' social desirability and employed various techniques to reduce common source bias. Another limitation of this study is its small sample size, which increases the likelihood of failing to detect significant relationships (Shen et al., 2011). As our HLM results were significant, small sample size does not seem to be of concern.

Future research directions

In closing, the present study adds to the emerging research on various methods for leader development. From a leadership perspective, this study supports that many challenging assignments – such as mentoring others – can improve individuals' leader identity and leader self-efficacy. Therefore, future research can broaden its horizon and investigate the role of many other challenging assignments and tasks in leader development. From a mentoring perspective, the present study supports that not only protégés, but also mentors can gain leader development through mentoring. We encourage scholars to expand their investigations on mentoring outcomes for mentors and to include more diverse outcome variables, such as the development of leadership competencies.

Figures

Change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy: difference between mentor and nonmentor groups

Figure 1

Change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy: difference between mentor and nonmentor groups

Change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy at various levels of mentoring provision

Figure 2

Change in leader identity and leader self-efficacy at various levels of mentoring provision

Means, standard deviations and correlations between variables

VariableNMSD12345678
1. Leader identity T1714.311.26
2. Leader identity T2714.331.350.79**
3. Leader identity T3714.361.230.85**0.83**
4. Leader identity T4714.321.320.77**0.84**0.89**
5. Leader self-efficacy T1715.730.840.53**0.33**0.48**0.32**
6. Leader self-efficacy T2715.770.870.54**0.54**0.64**0.54**0.75**
7. Leader self-efficacy T3715.730.900.46**0.47**0.57**0.50**0.73**0.84**
8. Leader self-efficacy T4715.700.920.39**0.41**0.51**0.51**0.65**0.78**0.87**
9. Participation in mentoringa710.710.46−0.010.130.170.21−0.060.140.230.17
10. Provision of mentoring464.920.940.250.46**0.41**0.50**0.170.40**0.44**0.62**

Note(s): T1 = Time 1; T2 = Time 2; T3 = Time 3; T4 = Time 4; *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01, aParticipation in mentoring (0 = nonmentors, 1 = mentors)

HLM analysis results for comparing the leader development outcomes between the mentor vs nonmentor groups

Leader identityLeader self-efficacy
Null modelModel 1Model 2Null modelModel 1Model 2
EstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEt
Random coefficients
Mean initial status4.300.1429.82**4.350.1529.05** 5.730.1061.05**5.750.1155.08**
Mean growth rate −0.010.02−0.62 −0.010.01−0.30
Model for intercept
Intercept 4.390.2021.44** 5.840.1344.54**
Participation in mentoring −0.020.28−0.06 −0.100.19−0.61
Model for slope
Intercept −0.060.01−3.89** −0.050.02−3.13**
Participation in mentoring 0.070.032.80** 0.070.022.91**
−2 × log 649.73 642.88 637.83 498.65 476.37 469.94
Δ−2 × log 6.86† 5.05† 22.28** 6.42*
df 3 2 3 2
Level 2 (between-person) variance 1.43 1.34 1.32 0.59 0.63 0.63
Level 1 (within-person) variance 0.27 0.23 0.23 0.18 0.12 0.12
Variance explained at Level 1 (Time)16% 23%

Note(s): N = 71; Participation in mentoring (0 = nonmentors, 1 = mentors); **p < 0.01; *p < 0.05; †p < 0.10

HLM analysis results for leader development outcomes in the mentor group

Leader identityLeader self-efficacy
Null modelModel 1Model 2Null modelModel 1Model 2
EstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEtEstimateSEt
Random coefficients
Mean initial status4.490.1825.46**4.430.1923.57** 5.800.1250.21**5.720.1441.14**
Mean growth rate 0.0130.020.60 0.020.021.07
Model for intercept
Intercept 4.440.1822.21** 5.690.1435.29**
Provision of mentoring 0.340.181.87 0.100.140.75
Model for slope
Intercept 0.010.02−0.16 0.010.020.07
Provision of mentoring 0.050.023.13** 0.060.014.38**
−2 × log 475.64 471.87 438.60 362.12 348.59 312.41
Δ−2 × log 3.78 33.27** 13.53** 36.18**
df 3 2 3 2
Level 2 (between-person) variance 1.57 1.53 1.17 0.60 0.77 0.78
Level 1 (within-person) variance 0.34 0.30 0.30 0.21 0.15 0.15
Variance explained at Level 1 (Time)18% 26%

Note(s): N = 46; *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01

Note

1.

The t-test results are available upon request.

References

Aguinis, H., Gottfredson, R.K. and Culpepper, S.A. (2013), “Best-practice recommendations for estimating cross-level interaction effects using multilevel modeling”, Journal of Management, Vol. 39 No. 6, pp. 1490-1528.

Allen, T.D., Eby, L.T., Chao, G.T. and Bauer, T.N. (2017), “Supplemental material for taking stock of two relational aspects of organizational life: tracing the history and shaping the future of socialization and mentoring research”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 102 No. 3, pp. 324-337.

Bandura, A. (1997), Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, Freeman and Company, New York: NY.

Baron, L. (2016), “Authentic leadership and mindfulness development through action learning”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 296-311.

Bem, D.J. (1972), “Self-perception theory”, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 6, pp. 1-62.

Bernerth, J.B. and Aguinis, H. (2016), “A critical review and best-practice recommendations for control variable usage”, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 69 No. 1, pp. 229-283.

Castro, S.L. and Scandura, T.A. (2004), “The tale of two measures: evaluation and comparison of scandura's (1992) and Ragins and McFarlin's (1990) mentoring measures”, Paper Presented at the Southern Management Association Meeting, San Antonio, TX.

Chun, J.U., Sosik, J.J. and Yun, N.Y. (2012), “A longitudinal study of mentor and protégé outcomes in formal mentoring relationships”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 1071-1094.

Crocetti, E., Moscatelli, S., Van der Graaff, J., Rubini, M., Meeus, W. and Branje, S. (2016), “The interplay of self-certainty and prosocial development in the transition from late adolescence to emerging adulthood”, European Journal of Personality, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 594-607.

Day, D.V. and Dragoni, L. (2015), “Leadership development: an outcome-oriented review based on time and levels of analyses”, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 133-156.

Day, D.V. and Harrison, M.M. (2007), “A multilevel, identity-based approach to leadership development”, Human Resource Management Review, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 360-373.

Day, D.V., Harrison, M.M. and Halpin, S.M. (2009), An Integrative Approach to Leader Development: Connecting Adult Development, Identity, and Expertise, Routledge, New York, NY.

Day, D.V., Fleenor, J.W., Atwater, L.E., Sturm, R.E. and McKee, R.A. (2014), “Advances in leader and leadership development: a review of 25years of research and theory”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 63-82.

Day, D.V. (2000), “Leadership development: a review in context”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 581-613.

Dvir, T., Eden, D., Avolio, B.J. and Shamir, B. (2002), “Impact of transformational leadership on follower development and performance: a field experiment”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 735-744.

Eby, L.T., Allen, T.D., Hoffman, B.J., Baranik, L.E., Sauer, J.B., Baldwin, S., Morrison, M.A., Kinkade, K.M., Maher, C.P., Curtis, S. and Evans, S.C. (2013), “An interdisciplinary meta-analysis of the potential antecedents, correlates, and consequences of protégé perceptions of mentoring”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 139 No. 2, pp. 441-476.

Eby, L.T. (2011), “Mentoring”, in Zedeck, S. (Ed.), APA Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Vol. 2: Selecting and Developing Members for the Organization, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 505-525.

Gentry, W.A. and Martineau, J.W. (2010), “Hierarchical linear modeling as an example for measuring change over time in a leadership development evaluation context”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 645-656.

Ghosh, R. and Reio, T.G. (2013), “Career benefits associated with mentoring for mentors: a meta-analysis”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 83 No. 1, pp. 106-116.

Guillén, L., Mayo, M. and Korotov, K. (2015), “Is leadership a part of me? A leader identity approach to understanding the motivation to lead”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 802-820.

Gurdjian, P., Halbeisen, T. and Lane, K. (2014), “Why leadership-development programs fail”, McKinsey Quarterly, available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/why-leadership-development-programs-fail.

Hiller, N.J. (2005), “Understanding leadership beliefs and leadership self-identity: constructs, correlates, and outcomes”, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

Huang, C.-Y., Weng, R.-H. and Chen, Y.-T. (2016), “Investigating the relationship among transformational leadership, interpersonal interaction and mentoring functions”, Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol. 25 Nos 15-16, pp. 2144-2155.

Janssen, S., van Vuuren, M. and de Jong, M.D.T. (2014), “Motives to mentor: self-focused, protégé-focused, relationship-focused, organization-focused, and unfocused motives”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 85 No. 3, pp. 266-275.

Khoreva, V. (2016), “Leadership development practices as drivers of employee attitudes”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 537-551.

Klassen, R.M. and Chiu, M.M. (2010), “Effects on teachers' self-efficacy and job satisfaction: teacher gender, years of experience, and job stress”, Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 102 No. 3, pp. 741-756.

Kraiger, K., Finkelstein, L.M. and Varghese, L.S. (2019), “Enacting effective mentoring behaviors: development and initial investigation of the cuboid of mentoring”, Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 403-424.

Kram, K.E. (1985), Mentoring at Work: Developmental Relationships in Organizational Life, Scott, Foresman & Co, Glenview, IL.

Lester, P.B., Hannah, S.T., Harms, P.D., Vogelgesang, G.R. and Avolio, B.J. (2011), “Mentoring impact on leader efficacy development: a field experiment”, The Academy of Management Learning and Education, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 409-429.

Mathieu, J.E., Aguinis, H., Culpepper, S.A. and Chen, G. (2012), “Understanding and estimating the power to detect cross-level interaction effects in multilevel modeling”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 97 No. 5, pp. 951-966.

Miscenko, D., Guenter, H. and Day, D.V. (2017), “Am I a leader? Examining leader identity development over time”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 605-620.

Mumford, T.V., Campion, M.A. and Morgeson, F.P. (2007), “The leadership skills strataplex: leadership skill requirements across organizational levels”, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 154-166.

Preacher, K.J., Curran, P.J. and Bauer, D.J. (2006), “Computational tools for probing interactions in multiple linear regression, multilevel modeling, and latent curve analysis”, Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 437-448.

Quigley, N.R. (2013), “A longitudinal, multilevel study of leadership efficacy development in MBA teams”, The Academy of Management Learning and Education, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 579-602.

Ramaswami, A. and Dreher, G.F. (2008), “The benefits associated with workplace mentoring relationships”, in Allen, T.D. and Eby, L.T. (Eds), The Blackwell Handbook of Mentoring, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford, pp. 211-231.

Seibert, S.E., Sargent, L.D., Kraimer, M.L. and Kiazad, K. (2017), “Linking developmental experiences to leader effectiveness and promotability: the mediating role of leadership self-efficacy and mentor network”, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 70 No. 2, pp. 357-397.

Shen, W., Kiger, T.B., Davies, S.E., Rasch, R.L., Simon, K.M. and Ones, D.S. (2011), “Samples in applied psychology: over a decade of research in review”, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 96 No. 5, pp. 1055-1064.

Singer, J.D. and Willett, J.B. (2003), Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis: Modeling Change and Event Occurrence, Oxford University Press, New York, available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152968.001.0001.

Vésteinsdóttir, V., Reips, U.-D., Joinson, A. and Thorsdottir, F. (2017), “An item level evaluation of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale using item response theory on Icelandic Internet panel data and cognitive interviews”, Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 107, pp. 164-173.

Volz-Peacock, M., Carson, B. and Marquardt, M. (2016), “Action learning and leadership development”, Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 318-333.

Wanberg, C.R., Kammeyer-Mueller, J. and Marchese, M. (2006), “Mentor and protégé predictors and outcomes of mentoring in a formal mentoring program”, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 69 No. 3, pp. 410-423.

Corresponding author

Mostafa Ayoobzadeh can be contacted at: mostafa.ayoobzadeh@concordia.ca

Related articles