Mentors: You Should Either Have One Or Be One
It’s been said that you never really learn something until you teach it. I have a vivid memory of a college class that was being taught by a newly hired professor and the topic of the day proved to be quite a workout for him. He stumbled more than once. But my guess is that from that time forward, he knew his material as never before.
The experience in mentoring is similar. While you’re helping the new person learn the ropes, you’re getting clear advantages, also. It’s about as classic a win-win as there ever was.
While we usually think about mentoring from the perspective of the person being mentored, there’s huge benefits on both sides. From the mentor side, the returns may be even more immediate.
- Greater perspective, clarity, and insights on what you already know
- Increased leadership skills
- Advanced awareness of upcoming talent that might otherwise be off the radar
And of course, as a mentor, you get the honor of seeing the results of your mentoring as those you’ve mentored progress through the ranks and become tomorrow’s leaders. In a very real way, those you mentor are part of your legacy.
The benefits of being mentored are commonly recognized. But as a refresher, here are the big ones.
- Access to experience and real-world results, taking advantage of the mentors knowledge of what has worked and what hasn’t
- Building a network and contact base. The mentor can provide introductions that might otherwise take years to establish
- Faster assimilation into the team. Rather than struggle through a period of real or imagined isolation, mentoring creates a feeling of peer partnership
- Improved performance. Statistics clearly show that those with mentors outperform those without.
Mentoring In The Real World
Recently, TheBoardlist released the results of a survey where over 110 C-level female executives were asked questions ranging from age related matters to who they considered mentors (men or women). They concluded that a key to business success is mentorship. Some of the highlights of the survey are below.
- Over 80% had a mentor
- And those mentors were nearly 2X as likely to be men (underscoring the need for men to be a part of the solution to help women advance)
- That said, over half of women’s role models were other women
- Really great insights in the open-ended qualitative questions about the lack of network opportunities
- Over 80% of women felt age held them back in their careers but interestingly 57% of those said it was when they were younger – again underscoring the need for mentorship
The facts are clear. No matter your position, there is value to be had from either being a mentor, or finding one to help your own career progress. And there’s a legitimate case to be made for always both having an active mentor and being one.
Image credit Mentoring.