Tim Judge

Woohee Choi felt immensely supportive to learn that her mentor, one of the world’s renowned experts on leadership, had been recognized for his impact on doctoral students.

Dr. Tim Judge was named the 2019 recipient of the Thomas A. Mahoney Mentoring Award by the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management. The award honors those who excel in the mentoring of PhD students.

Choi, a doctoral student who just completed her second year at Fisher, said Judge has been a wonderful guide for her in a variety of ways. She says Judge, who serves as the senior associate dean for programs and outreach at Fisher College of Business and holds the Joseph A. Alutto Chair in Leadership Effectiveness at Fisher, is not only very knowledgeable but shows a lot of warmth to his students.

He really cares about my future, so he always talks about different stages I should be on in that journey,” she said. “I don’t have any concerns or problems because I get help from him.”

Judge, the executive director of the Fisher Leadership Initiative, is no stranger to receiving awards, but this one stands out.  

“To me, it’s not so much my award as it’s our award with my students,” he said. “In some ways, that makes it more meaningful.”

Judge, who was cited in 2017 as the most influential researcher in industrial and organizational psychology, described his “different” method of mentoring.

“If I’ve imprinted on them and they’ve become a facsimile of me, that’s never my goal,” he said. “What I want to do is facilitate their growth so they are able to discover for themselves what they’re passionate about as far as doing research. I want them to find their way, and if I can help them do that, then I’ve been successful.”

Those in academia, he said, have a difficult path in front of them because there is a lot of autonomy and little structure. Furthermore, the rejection rate for being published in journals is more than 90 percent.

“If the mentoring is too close it’s like the helicopter parent,” Judge said. “I don’t think you’re preparing people for the difficult journey that’s ahead. It’s very often a peer-based relationship. I want them to be as assertive and direct and self-determined as they possibly could be.”

The origins of many of his research projects can be traced to Judge’s belief in a peer-to-peer relationship with his students.

“A lot of the agendas and research I’ve done has emanated from them,” he said. “Sometimes it was from conversations co-created by us, but sometimes I was actually the student learning from them, and they were the teacher.”

“I feel close to all of them. They’ve become very successful, and I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished and also maybe I’m biased, but I think they’re good people.”

Choi said her work with Judge is a living example of “empowering leadership.”

“He always guides very well and lets me decide what’s important,” she said. “He lets me suggest ideas for certain things and encourages me by expressing his confidence in me. He deserves the award.”

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