Dr. Jeff Magee Asks the Question, "Are You a Mentor?"
A recent Ohio State University study revealed that professionals with mentor relationships had developed skills that made them 68% more marketable than colleagues who did not benefit from a mentor relationship. Managers and leaders can develop their subordinates by adopting a mentor posture. You might not be in a position to adequately mentor all of the people on your team but you can still cultivate and maintain genuine and sincere relationships with those individuals on your team that you are not mentoring too. There may be many valid reasons, and some not so valid reasons, why you should or should not develop a mentor relationship with a specific subordinate. Ultimately you will need to decide which team members you are going to focus on and those that you are not going to focus on. Hopefully your decisions will be based on logical reasons and not emotional reasons.
The mentor concept consists of a series of five mentor levels that a mentor must navigate a subordinate through.
There are some situations where one mentor is not capable of performing in each of the mentor levels leading up to the Reverse Mentor level. The task, industry, scenario or environment may be too complicated and complex for one individual to serve adequately at all four mentor levels. If this is the case, then multiple mentors could assume the responsibilities associated with each level.
Your management or leadership responsibilities do not specifically exclude you from seeking your own mentor or mentors. As a competent manager you may desire to seek out appropriate individuals who can participate in your career growth. Survey your environment and determine those areas where you are lacking and then identify an individual to assist you in your new learning quest. In this regard you have just identified a need for an Elementary Mentor.
The perceptions others have of you are largely dependent on your actions. Engage those on your team with a deliberate mentoring strategy. You will benefit, the organization will benefit and most importantly the individual will benefit through your efforts to groom your teammate to become a mentor.
See what happens this weekend when you attempt to establish a mentoring relationship with a family member or friend. Even more radical might be if you were to attempt to mentor an individual, a stranger, who is less fortunate than you. This might be the greatest benefit of all. Good luck!
Dr. Jeff Magee, Ph.D., PDM, CSP, CMC