One of the privileges of longevity in the field is having wisdom to share with others. Being a mentor can be an incredibly meaningful experience for both the mentee and mentor. We have a handful of tips for encouraging the next generation of leaders in your organization and beyond.
Reflect on your career. Think back over how you’ve developed—and who helped you get there. What things do you wish you’d known sooner in your career? What practices have been most helpful?
Make yourself available. Mentoring can be a formalized relationship, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the most valuable things you can do to a young professional is to make yourself available to them. Be willing to answer questions they have. Offer to review their first big presentation before they have to give it. Small things make a big difference.
Believe in others. Mentoring is about sharing expertise, but also about offering support. Sometimes young professionals know what they should do, but doubt whether or not they can do it. Affirmation is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
Be willing to learn. If you start with an assumption that you hold all the answers, your mentoring efforts will lead to frustration—for both of you. Enter with respect and humility, knowing that their perspective may teach you a thing or two.
Foster independence. Good leaders aren’t threatened by growth. A young professional you invest in may grow beyond your department or organization and move on. True mentorship means helping them thrive—wherever that may take them.
Have you had a career mentor? How did they change the trajectory of your career? Share your experience with us.