So far this month we’ve covered both individual and company initiatives for skill development, but what if someone comes to you? If done properly, mentorship can be a fulfilling experience and create a positive impact on the mentee, the company, and you!
Mentorships typically develop between older employees in leadership positions, and young employees who are at the beginning of their career or considering a big shift. This connection with younger people is a great way to learn new things - especially as technology rapidly changes. You never know what you could learn from a younger, fresher perspective. It’s also a natural way to plan succession if you’re planning on retiring soon. Either way, making connections with other people at your company is a great way to grow personally and professionally.
The first ingredient of a good mentor is altruism. The mentorship isn’t about you, it’s about the mentee and their development. The focus should always be on them, their interests, ideas, strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, and so on. Take the time to learn about your mentee on both a professional and personal level. What makes them tick? Ask them what they want to do, and what brings them joy - and listen. After all, mentorship isn’t about molding the mentee into the next “you,” it’s about building upon their unique strengths and passions.
Everyone makes mistakes, and most times that’s the best way we learn. Be open and honest about the mistakes you’ve made. Not only will this help your mentee during their own activities, but it will encourage them to be more forthcoming about their own mistakes. Oftentimes newer or younger members of an organization want to impress the higher-ups and are scared of backlash, so they hide their mistakes. Having these conversations will help put them at ease and build trust between the two of you.
Once again, listening is very important when mentoring. Practice waiting until you give your input. Sometimes launching into a story about your past experience can bowl over what the mentee was actually talking about. Instead of giving advice straight away, try to ask guiding questions about the mentee’s options and possible solutions. Once you’ve heard everything, then it’s time to offer your sage advice. If you don’t have any advice at the moment - tell them so! Don’t feel pressured to come up with something on the spot. Simply tell your mentee that you want to take some time to think on the subject in order to give them your best advice. The mentee will appreciate your thoughtfulness and care.
...Metaphorical ones of course (unless you’re really corny!). The mentorship will be over before it begins if you don’t believe 100% in your mentee. Boost their confidence by showing your unwavering support and belief that they can reach their goals. This simple action is such a powerful way to aid in your mentee’s success. Of course, when they do meet their goals or overcome obstacles make sure you recognize them for it! We here at Dion can go on and on about the importance of recognition, but I’ll try to keep it concise: recognition reinforces good behavior, keeps people motivated, makes them feel valued, boosts confidence, and inspires others to do good too!
Being a mentor is a big responsibility, but if you’re ready to put your pupil first and pass on some of your knowledge, you can make a positive impact on someone’s career.
By Aubrey Dion
Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.