There is a new form of professional support that’s come to the workplace: sponsorship. Sponsorship can be understood as a form of intermediated impression management, where “sponsors” act as brand managers and publicists for their protégés. This work involves the management of the way others view the protégés (or “sponsored employees”).

Thus, the relationship at the heart of sponsorship differs from that of a mentorship in that it is not between protégés and sponsors, as is often thought, but between sponsors and an audience — the people that sponsors want to sway to the side of their protégés.

Understanding sponsorship in this way, you can identify specific, concrete behaviors for sponsors to use to lift up others — women and people of color, for instance. Below are  some tactics that are typically studied as forms of intermediated impression management that have been translated into sponsorship equivalents. Think of them as the ABCD’s of sponsorship.

Amplifying. Amplifying is the sponsorship equivalent of self-promotion. When sponsors amplify, they share their protégés’ accomplishments with others in a bid to create or increase an audience’s positive impressions of them.

Boosting. Boosting is the sponsorship equivalent of self-assurance. When sponsors boost their protégés, they stake some portion of their own reputation on an implicit guarantee about their protégés future success. In other words, they underwrite it.

Connecting. Connecting is the sponsorship equivalent of intermediated impression management through association; that is, claiming a relationship with a highly regarded individual or group so that some of the positive feeling others have toward them is transferred to the person claiming the association. This is often referred to as a “halo effect.”

Defending. Defending is the sponsorship equivalent of justifying or making personal excuses in an attempt to change others’ perceptions of them from negative to positive. In the same way, when a sponsor defends, they address an audience who dislikes or dismisses the protégé and works to persuade them to change their opinion. Defending is quite possibly one of the most effective sponsorship tactics.

Most people have benefited from sponsorship in some form or another to advance in their professional lives. The recognition of its power leads many of us to focus on ensuring that we have sponsors who will amplify, boost, connect or defend us.

But if we’re truly committed to social equity, we need to start thinking not only about how we can benefit from sponsorship, but also how we can help others who need it.