One summer during college I worked as a temp at a mortgage company and was lucky enough to work with a great manager. Drew showed me how to keep a clean desk (not sure I actually practice this, but it was great to see it in action) and how to have patience with a wide variety of talent levels on your team. He didn’t know it, but he was a mentor of mine and the skills he passed on have stayed with me for a number of years that will remain undisclosed.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider, or continue, guiding others to new professional heights.
It’s good for the profession
On the job learning, guided by a knowledgeable supervisor, is the most effective way to progress. There’s nothing like real life examples worked through together or shared as stories passed down from the dark ages of thirteen-column ledgers, hard-copy work papers and Windows XP.
But more than just on the job training, mentoring is developing a relationship with an individual and sharing in the ownership of their development. And without people like you showing the next generation of professionals the ropes, in a way that’s sincere and meaningful, the profession stands to weaken. Keep our standards high, pass down your knowledge of what it takes to be successful.
Someone mentored you, even if they didn’t do it perfectly
Perhaps you were paired with Sarah the Scary Manager or Walter the Weirdo as your mentor, coach or counselor when you were new to practice (or maybe you’re paired with them now!). You may have learned some tidbits from them, possibly even a lot once you figured out how to work with their unique personality. Or you found others at your organization that were able to help you in a more meaningful way.
If you’re on the luckier side, you found someone who fit well with your personality and style and were able to swing an early promotion with your fast-tracked knowledge.
Whatever your scenario, it’s likely a good portion of your ability to get the job done was impacted by the mentorship of others. It’s time now for you to pay it forward and mentor the next generation.
It’s a gift that keeps on giving
The other day an associate that I mentored for five long years (ok, they weren’t that long) was promoted to a manager position at SalesForce. I know this was a hard earned promotion and not one granted simply based on years of service or because someone died or quit. I was so proud of my mentee and all of the work she had put into making this happen that on her mom’s Facebook post about the promotion with a long string of compliments I added “Nice job, that’s my girl!”
My mentee’s reply? “Kristen, I am forever indebted to you!”
Now, if at that moment, there had been any doubt about the impact I had as a mentor, it all vanished. It was Facebook Official that at least some of the insistence on high standards, conversations on which reasons it was ok to quit for and which it wasn’t, and other hard lessons we worked through together were all worth it.
Make sure mentoring a few people becomes or retains some priority on your to-do list. Spend some time occasionally thinking about how you could be an even better mentor to aid in their development and the success of the profession.