Hopefully, you’ve had several influential mentors to help guide you throughout the various stages of your career, whether in a formal or informal arrangement. How are you doing at returning the favor?
Being a mentor does more than just offer an invaluable resource to an up-and-comer and develop the next generation of women leaders. It can actually re-energize you in your own career as it offers you a chance to gain new perspectives as you work with your mentee.
Maximizing everyone’s time and effort
Still, no one has time to spare for an unproductive or unfulfilling arrangement. So try embracing these two ideas to get more from your current (or next) mentor-mentee relationship:
- Key 1: Ask more questions than you answer. It happens to the best of us. The temptation in the mentor-mentee dynamic is to view the mentor as the person who has all the answers. But that’s probably not be the most productive way to work the relationship. Instead, try to view yourself in more of a coach role, where you ask pointed questions to help guide your mentee.
- Key 2: Look beyond the obvious places. That firecracker employee who’s currently in the ranks you rose up through might seem like an obvious choice of mentee, but don’t limit yourself. You might bring your perspective and experience to mentor someone in another unrelated department in your company. The benefits could expand far beyond the mentor-mentee dynamic in terms of greater understanding about how other departments function and smoother cross-departmental relations.
What do you find has helped you most in your role as mentor? Share in the comments section below.
(Adapted in part from “10 Ways to be a Better Mentor, from Those Who’ve Done It” by T.A. Frank at druckerinstitute.com/monday/mentoring)