Posted on 7th March 2019 by Haylee Burley
With his new book ‘Mentors’ Russell Brand asks, ‘Could happiness lie in helping others and being open to accepting help yourself?’
Brand writes ‘I have mentors in every area of my life, as a dad, a comic, a recovering drug addict, a spiritual being and as a man who believes that we, as individuals and the great globe itself, as works in progress and that through a chain of mentorship we can improve individually and globally, together’. A statement I happen to agree with wholeheartedly, why shouldn’t we be sharing our knowledge and lifting people up?
If we take a second and think about the things we know not only in the world of business, but in our personal lives, while there are things you figured out on your own from going out and living, chances are most of the knowledge you have, came from somebody teaching you something. Whether it was your parents when you were young or teachers throughout your years of schooling; or even friends and colleagues at any given time, your interactions with people have most likely been a massive source of learning for you.
You’ve benefited from this sharing of knowledge, and know this, those teaching you also could have gotten something positive out of it. That’s because it turns out mentoring is mutually beneficial to those on both sides of the relationship.
A wonderful friend of mine ‘G’ recently applied for and was successful in securing a very important role in her career. This career intensifying role deserved a little celebration, so when we caught up over dinner and drinks and asked her how things were going, she was, of course, elated, but she explained how relieved she was that she would still have the opportunity to be a mentor.
G’s mentee is a lovely young lady, employed straight out of school. The time they spend together is all about her, what she enjoys about the role, finds challenging, what programs she would like to learn, they discuss difficult situations that she is not overly sure how to handle. G with all her knowledge and ‘Whizdom’ (of which there are bucketloads) just wants to give her the confidence to feel comfortable in the workplace at the very beginning of her career.
In complete awe, I turn to G and explain that she is essentially setting this young lady up with professional and life skills that she will carry with her through her entire career. That in fact, a part of G will always be with this young lady. Forever she will remember that high flying executive that would religiously take hours out of her busy week to sit down and mentor her…… just astounding!
Having business mentoring programs in the workplace comes highly recommended. These programs not only ensure that an employee will be more motivated in their career, but these are also great follow-throughs to an employee’s training, learning, and development. While formal training is a must, of course, pair it up with an effective mentoring program, then you might have a winning formula for your organisation! For example, pairing up a new hire with a veteran employee can be a great activity for the former to see firsthand how the skills learned in new hire training are applicable to real-life work scenarios. A newly-hired employee isn’t the only one who can benefit from business mentoring programs.
These strategies can also be used to train and develop a high-potential employee too, take management skills, for example. Aside from formal training, can also be learned through mentoring. Pairing a potential manager with a more experienced and high-performing business leader can help the former get to know more about the nature of work, what competencies need to be developed, and what specific processes must be mastered. It can also go the other way – pair a manager with a veteran staffer so that the former can better understand the department’s operations and the staff’s working conditions.
I think about my own mentors over the years, I have had a few, but one in particular, ‘Fiona,’ who has helped me forge something quite unfathomably great out of something that would have quite possibly broken me had she not been there. Fiona empowered me to have courage; to stand up for what was right, to be bold and have a voice for myself and for others, to make an example of people who were quite happy to bend’ legislation in the hope that others may be ignorant. Fiona is courageous and confident in all that she does and wildly hilarious with constant Australian colloquialisms thrown in for good measure. Without whom, I would have continued as the wallflower that blushes at the slightest confrontation.
As a mentor in the workplace, you don’t always have to say something. You might be surprised what can happen when you serve as a sounding board for workplace growing pains or just a safe place to verbally process through a tough task. You may have a ton of advice but choose which pieces you share and when. You may be sought out for advice but remember they already have a manager telling them what to do. By remembering to listen to those who seek you out, it is possible. To learn something that you will find beneficial.
Making an effort to mentor a person or people in your workplace can be one of the most rewarding professional experiences you can have. Not only do you get the gratifying feeling of helping somebody else achieve their goals or navigate difficult situations, but you also get to learn more about yourself and the industry in which you work, gain confidence from the evidence of the knowledge you are bestowing and enhance your leadership skills along the way.
Written By: Haylee Burley – Candidate Care Manager, Whizdom Recruitment
References Used: None (life experiences)